April 23, 2011

Bank discovers business overtakes agriculture


A WHIFF of change is in the air in Takeo. Business is starting to replace agriculture as the mainstay of the local economy, at least for ACLEDA Bank.

According to Lim Say, manager of the credit office at the bank’s main Takeo branch, 70 percent of loans are to business clients. This compares with only 10 or 20 percent to clients in the agricultural sector.

“Clients have growing businesses and they need more capital,” says Nhim Vanna, manager of branch administration. This is a comparatively new trend.

“In 2009, I saw only a few people had businesses, now I see a lot of businesses, and they can recycle their loans,” says Lim Say.

The increase in business within the province has been good business for the bank itself. Last year, the branch loaned US$6.6 million to clients, compared with $4.6 million the year before, an increase of more than 40 percent.

Many of the loans are to clients working in the construction sector.

Chip Pheakdeypheap, 40, has sold construction and building materials from his shop in the town centre for 13 years. He took out an initial loan with the bank for $30,000 four years ago. His most recent loan was for $200,000. “Before I did not understand the banking sector,” he says. “Now, ACLEDA is my trusted partner.”

After a dip during the global economic crisis of 2008 and 2009, Chip Pheakdeypheap has seen a steady increase in trade since last year.

“More people have business,” he says. “And construction is the same.” The former goldsmith believes the understanding he has fostered with his customers over the years has held him in good stead. “I have good relationships, reasonable prices and provide a good service. This makes customers come back to me.”

With his new shop providing electrical goods currently under construction down the road, Chip Pheakdeypheap is showing no signs of slowing down.

“If I can I will expand further,” he says.

“The more successful I am, the braver I will become.”

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