RHB Indochina Bank Ltd is optimistic about achieving the 10 percent riel loan denomination by the end of the year as the bank rolls out campaigns in order to encourage more people to apply for loans in the local currency including making riel deposits, says its chief executive officer Thoo Kim Seng.
The efforts do not solely extend to new applicants but also to existing customers, hoping that they would add on to their deposits using the Khmer Riel.
“Some of the perks offered by the campaign come in the form of better interest rates when housing loans are applied for. We are currently offering different rates depending on the currency for the loans applied,” he adds.
A few years ago, the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) issued a prakas requiring all banks and microfinance institutions (MFIs) to hold a minimum 10 percent of their loan portfolio in Khmer riel back in 2016.
While it proves to be a struggle for most banks, both local and foreign in the Kingdom, RHB Indochina is working hard towards meeting the target by December 31, 2019.
“In order to support NBC’s initiative to encourage Khmer Riel usage, the bank is offering special rates for Khmer Riel loans. Having one’s own currency is something we support. Our current rate from the campaign is at 6.88 percent for the first three years.
It will balance out from the other loans (as) it’s 10 percent of the total which is manageable costs,” says Mr Thoo.
He also points out that there are more initiatives in order to increase the usage of Riel in the country, witnessing it in malls and shops – something that was hardly seen in the past.
This proves that the locals are becoming more receptive to the initiatives.
Although feedback on how well the campaign is being perceived is being evaluated, he says the pace has been getting better over the years in terms of utilising the Khmer Riel. As of 2017, RHB Indochina’s current and savings account ratio (CASA) consists of five percent riel for deposits and they are expecting another 10 percent in Khmer Riel.
He adds that the bank is looking to maintain at 15 percent by this year and is optimistic this can be achieved through CASA rates campaigns.