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South Korean Bank Eyes Cambodia

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The South Korea-based Nong Hyup Bank plans to open a branch in the Kingdom and will focus on investments and loans in the agriculture sector, according to a senior official in the Ministry of Agriculture.
 
Ty Sokhun, Secretary of State for Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, said at the Cambodia – Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Conference in Phnom Penh on Wednesday that Nong Hyup Bank’s long experience in the agriculture sector in South Korea prompted it to want to open a new branch in Cambodia.
 
Mr. Sokhun said the bank’s top management are currently in negotiations over the opening of the new branch.
 
“We are waiting to see the bank’s plans in order for them to apply for an operating license from the National Bank of Cambodia. We want the bank to provide loans [to farmers] at a lower interest rate but first we need to know what their investment capital would be,” he said. “The bank is very experienced in helping farmers get enough capital. They not only assist them in agricultural production but also help them find markets for their products.”
 
Chea Serey, director general for the National Bank of Cambodia told Khmer Times yesterday that she has yet to receive an application from Nong Hyup Bank for an operating licence.
 
“I’m not aware of the application,” she said, pointing out that there are already three South Korean banks operating in Cambodia. The three banks are Kookmin Bank, Shinhan Khmer bank and Booyong Bank.
 
As of last year, there were 36 commercial and 11 specialized banks in the Kingdom with total outstanding loans of some $11.7 billion. About 10 percent of the bank loans were made to the agriculture sector. In the same period, there were 58 microfinance institutions operating in the country giving out loans totaling $3 billion, of which 16.9 percent went to the agriculture sector.

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