PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA, October 6, 2000
-- The long process of converting from an aid-based support organization
to a full-fledged bank to finance small businesses across Cambodia will
be complete with the opening on Saturday October, 7 of ACLEDA Bank. ACLEDA
Bank received a banking license from the National Bank of Cambodia, providing
its new commercial bank status.
ACLEDA (Association of Cambodian Economic Development Agencies) was established
in 1993 as a non-profit non-governmental organization to provide financing
to small businesses and would-be entrepreneurs, especially in rural areas.
Funded by the United States Agency for International Development and other
international donors, it grew quickly into a thriving microfinance institution
with more than 40 branches across Cambodia and assets of over US$13 million.
With the advice and financial assistance of a special program of the International
Finance Corporation (through the Mekong Project Development Facility) and
the United Nations Development Program, ACLEDA began in 1996 to convert
into a fully licensed commercial bank that could be self-sustaining without
the need for donor assistance.
ACLEDA's 60,000 clients include basket weaving operations and lotus farmers,
noodle-makers and steelworks, many in rural areas and 90 percent of which
are owned by women. As a commercial bank, it will expand even further and
extend new financial services to micro-enterprises and small businesses
that will contribute to a growing economy in Cambodia.
ACLEDA completed the first steps in its transformation by upgrading its
accounting policies and practices to international standards and undertaking
an internal restructuring to organize in line with international commercial
banks. A new management information system as well as a comprehensive staff
development program were put in place. Trust funds from the government
of Japan were used to finance advisory services of an experienced commercial
banker during the bank's start-up period.
ACLEDA Bank received $2 million in capital injection from a consortium
of international investors including IFC, FMO (Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij
Voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V.), Triodos Bank of the Netherlands, and DEG
of Germany (Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH).
Mr. Javed Hamid, IFC's Director for East Asia and Pacific paid tribute
to a dedicated team of managers working in close partnership with investors
in order to structure the new bank. ACLEDA Bank's continued success would
be founded on its strong relationship with its clientele, coupled with
the growing demand for diverse financial services. He added that ACLEDA's
transformation into a commercial bank demonstrates that good banking can
go hand in hand with meeting the financial needs of rural entrepreneurs
in the most challenging environments.
The mission of IFC, part of the World Bank Group, is to promote private
sector investment in developing countries, which will reduce poverty and
improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the
developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets,
and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.