Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Cambodia - CBC Speech

National Bank of Cambodia Speech -

H.E. NEAV CHANTHANA

Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Cambodia,

On the Occasion of the First Event on

“The Annual Business Conference of Credit Bureau Cambodia”

Intercontinental Hotel, Phnom Penh, 28thMarch, 2013

-        Distinguished Board of Directors of the Credit Bureau Cambodia

-        Excellencies, Distinguished guests, speakers, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, on behalf of the National Bank of Cambodia, I have the great honor of presiding over “The First Annual Business Conference” update from the Credit Bureau Cambodia (CBC).

First of all, allow me to extend my warmest welcome to the Board directors of the Credit Bureau Cambodia (CBC) and all delegates in this conference. As its name suggests this is the first event of its kind to be organised by the CBC since its launch a year ago. This event will serve as an important platform for all stakeholders to meet, discuss and share views on the Credit Bureau such as its services, potentials and benefits.

Cambodia Credit Bureau is a new business for Cambodia that has been operating for just one year, although this project started many years ago. It was an important journey, and it is only with thanks to the dedication and commitment all stakeholders today that I can stand in front of you all and congratulate everyone on a job well done.

Excellencies, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Taking this opportunity, I would like to highlight the background of Credit Bureau in Cambodia. Recognizing the importance of a credit bureau in mitigating credit risk and over-indebtedness, and the need for the country to have a clear and transparent credit reporting infrastructure, the National Bank of Cambodia with the assistance from the Asian Development Bank, launched in 2006 a pilot project known as Credit Information Sharing (CIS). This system was hosted at the NBC and managed by a board composed of member banks and NBC.  A Prakas was issued to govern and manage all procedures and processes of the CIS. As a pilot project, this system was run on a voluntary basis and consisted of only negative information. The project was a very good introduction to information sharing amongst the industry but lacked scalability. This prompted National Bank in 2010 with the cooperation from the International Finance Corporation IFC (World Bank Group) to undertake a feasibility study on privatizing the credit bureau. In 2011, after much effort from the IFC, the Banker Association, the Cambodian Microfinance Association, especially I must also give notable credit to the NBC staff who were involved in the credit bureau project since its early days, a prakas on Credit Reporting was issued in May 2011. The first private credit bureau in Cambodia, The CBC, was subsequently licensed in January 2012 and launched in March the very same year.

Excellencies, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Looking forward to our nations prospects for 2013 and our future are incredibly positive, with GDP growth expected to continue to grow, we are likely expecting that the majority of this growth will be driven by a vibrant private sector, mainly in the service sectors of trade, real estate, construction and of course banking.

I must acknowledge that CBC has in part facilitated this growth in the past 12 months.  When potential businesses, donors and foreign investors can see that Cambodia as a nation is serious about ensuring transparency within its credit environment, we become a much stronger, more compelling and safer investment destination.

More so, when the same investors and global partners can see that Cambodia has implemented a modern state of the art credit bureau in just 12 months, it further increases confidence in the stability and the confidence in the capability of the Cambodian financial sector as a whole.

That is not to say of course that the hard work is over!  When it comes to the process of strengthening our economic reputation and building strong trust relationships, of course there is never such a thing as a “mission accomplished”

In Cambodia our banking sectors governance and transparency has been greatly improved, thanks in part to sound corporate governance our banking institutions, not to mention those of us in the NBC and regulatory roles that push to improve reporting and sector transparency.

Credit risk must be carefully monitored and regulated in any economy, but particularly in fast growing economies such as ours where the expansion of credit has the potential to outstrip the GDP growth, the presence of such a credit risk may have serious impacts including a potential slowing down of the banking and financial sector, and later the general economy if it were to go unmanaged.

It is for this reason, as well as many others - why we at the NBC believe that the efforts made by our authorities and bankers to install a greater number of checks and balances relating to credit risk can always be, and must always be improved upon.

Of course the success of the CBC and its new centralized computer system has a purpose much larger than simply holding data on loans and credit positions.

I would even dare say that the implementation of the CBC goes further than simply providing banks with an accurate method to better gauge their credit risk.

By implementing a modern credit bureau our team has ensured that we foster and encourage responsible lending practices, making sure that capital is easier to source for those citizens that need it to expand their business.

At the same time the CBC provides a vital role in protecting those most vulnerable members of society whom may already be over-indebted from sliding further into a debt position that they cannot service.

It is this commitment to a responsible approach for our long-term sustainable economic development that caused us to establish the CBC, and it is this commitment to sustainability and responsible business that will drive us forward during the years to come.

So it is with a sense of excitement and caution about our sectors future that I speak to you today.

The Cambodia Credit Bureau implementation has been held up as an example of a timely, thorough and well-executed implementation of a centralized credit reporting system.

In short our banking sector in Cambodia must be compliant, it must be transparent, it must be sustainable, and it must be trustworthy if we are truly going to grow to our full potential whilst adapting to the global change in the sector as a whole.

Vigilant oversight of our banking sector’s regulatory regime can only help improve our fiscal credentials, whilst serving to better prepare the country's lenders for regional integration and expansion on an ASEAN and Global stage.

Excellencies, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Cambodia Credit Bureau is an excellent example of what we can all do when we all focus on what is important for both the big picture and the detail of our growing economy.

I expect the CBC to take a leadership position in championing responsible lending and responsible and sustainable business practices within our community in the years to come.

In fact it was with delight that I was informed today that the CBC are sponsoring a number of forward thinking initiatives within our community that assist the least privileged of our society.

It is these qualities and commitments to corporate social responsibility combined with most robust, responsible business practices that define our standing, reputation and trustworthiness among our peers on a global stage.

We have made an important step; by improving the transparency of our credit system we have taken a step towards greater sustainability.  Thanks to the CBC we are better equipped to cope with the inevitable increase in the pace of change in the years to come.

We are all starting to better understand that corporate responsibility, reliability and trustworthiness will be the characteristics of a country’s banking sector that will hold the most value to investors in the future.

To conclude, I would heartily like to congratulate all of you again on an excellent first year of operation of our country's credit bureau, the importance and significance of which should not be underestimated or understated.

Every player, be it regulator, technology supplier, bank, bureau, lawyer, MFI or any other cog in the wheel has had an important part to play and for this excellent delivery I would like to thank you on behalf of the National Bank of Cambodia.

I would like to thank you for your participation in today’s important event and thank you for celebrating this milestone in our economic development, long may it continue and long may our Kingdom’s banking sector continue to prosper by developing trust, transparency and sustainability together.

I declare “The First Annual Business Conference” updated from the Credit Bureau Cambodia (CBC) officially opened.

 

Thank you!

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