Monday, September 25, 2017

Cambodian microfinance lender opens in Myanmar

Cambodian microfinance lender Acleda opened a wholly owned subsidiary in Myanmar on March 25, although the company has been operating since February 18, an official said.

The company, which will be called Acleda MFI Myanmar, has a five-storey office tower on Shwegondaing Road in Bahan township, a bank spokesperson said last week.

The spokesperson said Acleda was granted a permit to trade by the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration on September 6 last year, and has been licensed to carry out microfinance operations as a credit- and deposit-taking organisation on February 8.

“Our company has been run as a deposit-taking microfinance institution with an initial paid-up capital of K8 billion, or US$10 million,” the spokesperson said. “We have been granted a licence to operate a microfinance business, and our first step is to offer this service in 15 townships in Yangon Region, including South and North Okkalapa, South Dagon, Insein, Shwe Pyi Thar, Thaketa, Hlaing Tharyar, Thingangyun, Mingalar Taung Nyunt, Dagon Seikkan, Dawbon, Dala, East Dagon, Mingalardon and Thanlyin,” he said.

Mr Kim Bunsocheat, managing director and chief executive officer of Acleda MFI Myanmar, said: “Our vision is to be Myanmar’s leading financial institution providing superior financial services to all segments of the community. We are choosing to work in Myanmar because it is a developing country and a neighbour of China, where we hope to expand to in future,” he said.

Mr Kim Bunsocheat said that by March 21 the bank had served 292 customers, with 189 accounts holding deposits of K1.836 million, with loans totalling K35.750 million, he said.

Acleda MFI Myanmar is offering loans through two channels: privately and through groups. Private loans can only be provided with collateral but group loans – where a number of people take responsibility for a debt – do not, he said.

“We have set our interest rates in accord with the laws in Myanmar, and our smallest loans are K100,000,” he added.

Acleda Bank has operated in Cambodia for about 20 years but has been looking to establish a presence in Myanmar since 2012, said Dr In Channy, the bank’s president and chief executive officer. The bank has 238 branches in Cambodia and another 29 in Laos, he said.

“Now, we can build a branch office in Myanmar and we will try to cooperate with regional experts in our business,” he said.

The company sent two groups of 36 Myanmar staff to do training in Cambodia in 2012, a bank press release on March 25 said. It added that the bank plans to employ 750 Myanmar employees.

“Our mission is to provide small entrepreneurs with the wherewithal to manage their financial resources efficiently and by doing so to improve the quality of their lives,” the press release said.

“By achieving these goals, we will ensure sustainable benefits to our shareholders, our staff and the community at large.”