Cambodia's best bank for SMEs 2018: Campu Bank
Banking in Cambodia can be tough. It’s a small, developing market and there are a lot of banks; 43 commercial banks are registered with the central bank. And that does not include a longer list of specialized sector-focused banks and microfinanciers.
Rumours about their varying levels of financial health are rife. In the course of four days of meetings in the capital, Asiamoney hears off-the-record whispers about the supposedly parlous state of at least six banks.
Notably, Campu Bank was not one of them. After 26 years in Cambodia, the Malaysian-owned bank enjoys a level of trust and respect that is the envy of its rivals. Malaysia’s famously frugal Public Bank has brought the same level of caution that it applies to its SME-centred business at home to building its Phnom Penh-based offshoot under local chair Teh Hong Piow.
Campu’s non-performing loan ratio in 2018 came in at 0.6% in its $1 billion-plus loan book. That’s well below what it describes as its own tolerance level of 1%, and comfortably below the industry average of 2.4%.
Cambodian banks like to win business with lucky draws, with extravagant prizes such as new condos, cars, motorbikes or tech gadgets. But Campu eschews such frippery and concentrates on the stuff that matters. Customer deposits jumped 37.7% to $1.63 billion in 2017, which Campu says reflects the public’s confidence in its reputation.
With assets of $2.1 billion, Campu is the largest of the foreign-owned banks in Cambodia. But it functions as a local Cambodian bank, albeit with the knowledge that a foreign owner stands behind it. And has been doing so since 1992, when the country was still under United Nations rule. From a one-branch bank back then, Campu now has 31 branches across the country, and almost all of the 862 employees are Cambodian.
Campu says its pre-tax profit of $58.87 million for 2017 was driven by stronger loans growth, lower-cost deposits and prudent cost management.