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ABA Bank raises Cambodia’s digital game

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Photo: Getty

ABA Bank has helped to transform Cambodia’s banking sector through digitalization and a razor-sharp focus on financial inclusion – efforts that are paying off.

Many established banks live in constant fear of the fintech revolution that’s upending the world’s financial sector. ABA Bank is an exception. The Cambodian firm is leaning into the disruption.

“We have come to run things around here like a fintech,” Zokhir Rasulov, ABA’s chief digital officer, tells Asiamoney. “Our programming department, which we keep in-house, is at the centre of everything.”

Founded in 1996 as the Advanced Bank of Asia, ABA’s aim was to be Cambodia’s “mobile first” financial institution, long before Covid-19 hit. In a country where nearly 80% of the population lack basic banking accounts, ABA is using its digital savvy to pull more people into the conventional banking system; however, it prefers customers to visit its apps, not its physical branches.

ABA has “significantly contributed to financial inclusion and growth of the digital economy in the country,” chief executive Askhat Azhikhanov tells Asiamoney. Of course, he adds, “there’s a lot to be done regarding financial inclusion, as Cambodia is still an underbanked country.”

Cambodia is blessed by a lack of heavy legacy and affection for old-style banking
Askhat Azhikhanov
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Azhikhanov notes that roughly 90% of ABA’s customers are digitally active and using the bank’s online platforms.

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William Pesek is a freelance contributor for Asiamoney, based in Tokyo.
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