The National Bank of Cambodia and Maybank last night signed a memorandum of understanding to promote collaboration in the area of cross-border payments and remittances between Cambodia and Malaysia.
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The MoU was formalised at a signing ceremony held in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the re-establishment of the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC).
The deal involves NBC, Maybank Cambodia and Maybank Malaysia working together to explore the possibility of enabling real-time transfers, payments and cross-border remittance of funds between Cambodia and Malaysia through NBC’s Bakong payment system and Maybank’s Maybank2u digital platform.
The collaboration between NBC and Maybank will also further accelerate financial inclusion as well as support the move towards a cashless digital society in Cambodia.
Chea Serey, assistant governor and director-general of NBC, welcomed the move.
Ms Serey said Cambodians who want to send money home can only resort to agents or other services that charge high fees for each transaction. These fees can be as high as 20 to 30 percent of the amount transferred.
She said the collaboration with Maybank will allow Cambodians living in Malaysia to send money back home without intermediaries, helping them reduce costs.
“Finally, we are here to sign the MoU. I remembered that it was less than three months ago when I raised the possibility of cooperation with Maybank on Cambodia’s Bakong system. In a very short time, we have made this happen,” Ms Serey said.
She said the MoU will help them reach a new level of financial cooperation, further leveraging technology to benefit the people in Cambodia and Malaysia.
“The collaboration will substantially contribute to the promotion of trade activities and financial inclusion in both countries,” Ms Serey added.
In July, NBC announced the soft launch of the Bakong mobile payment application for money transfers and payments (including across national borders). It is safe, easy, fast and free of charge, the bank said.
The introduction of the Bakong system will enhance the payment system at the domestic and regional levels, it said.
The service is expected to benefit Cambodians who are residing in Malaysia and Malaysians who live in Cambodia as well as businesses in both countries through the Bakong e-wallet and Maybank2u in terms of financial settlements.
Head of community financial services of Maybank Malaysia Hamirullah Boorhan said the MoU is an important milestone for Bakong and for Maybank’s partnership with NBC.
He said Malaysia and Cambodia are the right places to start given that there is a significant trade relationship and a substantial exchange of remittances between the two countries.
This service, he said, will greatly benefit Cambodians who are residing in Malaysia and Malaysians who live in Cambodia as well as businesses in both countries for trade settlements and remittances. The banks hope it will also encourage more trade between the two countries.
“I would like to thank NBC for giving us the opportunity to help realise its aspiration to expand Bakong’s capabilities globally, and to be the first global partner for Bakong’s cross-border funds transfer,” Mr Hamirullah said.
“Given our continuous effort to build a robust digital banking platform and NBC’s commitment to advance the country’s financial services industry, I’m sure this collaboration will inspire more innovative projects in the future, which will drive the financial sector to new heights,” he added.
“Maybank is excited to leverage our Asean footprint and Maybank2u digital platform to provide our customers in Malaysia and Cambodia with a seamless, secure yet low-cost solution,” Mr Hamirullah said.
“To-date, Maybank2u is the most popular digital banking platform in Malaysia, with more than 66 percent of all mobile banking transactions in Malaysia done through the Maybank app. This collaboration will further expand and enhance its capabilities,” he added.
Mohd Hanif Suadi, CEO of Maybank in Cambodia, said that this marks a significant milestone for the banks. He said they are proud to be a part of this innovative project, leveraging technology to sustainably contribute to the growth of the banking system in Cambodia.
“It is a great pleasure and honour for Maybank Cambodia to be a part of this collaboration with the National Bank of Cambodia, with the support of our parent bank, to promote cross border payments and remittances riding on NBC’s blockchain-based Bakong payment system,” Mr Mohd Hanif said.
“At Maybank, we aspire to meet the ever-evolving needs of our customers by continually transforming ourselves through digital innovations to serve in a fast, easy, hassle-free and secure manner,” he added.
“With this collaboration, we strive to enhance our offerings by providing relevant end-to-end solutions to a wider customer base with uniquely differentiated digital propositions that encapsulate our mission of humanising financial services,” Mr Mohd Hanif added.
“We believe that this collaboration will certainly go a long way in accelerating financial inclusion as well as support the move towards a cashless society in Cambodia in the longer term,” he added.