Cambodia's banking sector has maintained strong and steady growth in terms of loans and deposits in 2012 thanks to better economic performance, a central bank's senior official said Tuesday.
"Our banking system remains robust this year despite economic crisis in Europe and economic slowdown in the United States. These bad situations do not affect our banking sector," Nguon Sokha, Director General of the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), which is the regulator of the country's banking and financial institutions, told Xinhua.
"We see that both loans and deposits have sharply increased this year," she said.
According to the latest statistics provided by the NBC, the kingdom's 32 commercial banks have lent 5.49 billion U.S. dollars to private sectors by November 2012, up 30 percent year-on-year.
The loans went mostly to the sectors of trades, real estate, construction and mortgage, agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and services.
On the deposit side, the banks have received 6.02 billion U.S. dollars by November 2012, up 24 percent year-on-year, it said.
Those banks are serving about 1.6 million borrowers and 1.9 million depositors, it added.
Sokha said the increase in lending reflected growing business activities, while the rise in deposits truly mirrored people's confidence in banking system and political stability.
"We believe that the sector will continue to grow at a similar rate in 2013," she said.
So Phonnary, executive vice president of Acleda Bank, the country's largest commercial bank, agreed that the banking sector was strong and healthy this year.
She said Acleda Bank has released the loans of 1.22 billion U.S. dollars as of November this year, up 23 percent year-on-year. At the meantime, it has received the deposits of 1.4 billion U.S. dollars, up 22 percent year-on-year.
"Both loans and deposits have grown very well," she said. "More importantly, the non-performing loan rate, or bad loan, is very low--only 0.33 percent. This shows good business environment in the country."
Jang Ki-Sung, Chief Executive Officer of South Korea's Kookmin Bank Phnom Penh Branch, said Cambodia's banks have developed rapidly in terms of assets, liabilities and equity and are becoming more competitive and innovative because of new international standard banks' entrance and the management of the NBC.
"The banks have moved forward from a traditional strategy to an advanced strategy, and several banks have introduced internet and mobile banking, so more Cambodian customers have more chances to access advanced banking products and services with strong trust in the system," he told Xinhua in an interview.
"This is a positive sign to Cambodian economy and we believe the industry will still continue to grow as public trust to the industry has increased and the country's political situation is stable," he said.
"I believe that more foreign investors will come to Cambodia to support the integrated ASEAN economic community in 2015, and trade activities and tourists will continue to rise," Jang added.
Speaking in a condition of anonymity, a senior Chinese banker said that the banking market in Cambodia will see a great potential in the future, but, for now, the market is still relatively small and there are too many commercial banks.