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Three Thai banks join IFC's microfinance push in Cambodia

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Three Thai banks join IFC's microfinance push in Cambodia

Three Thai banks have joined IFC's US$65 million syndication loan to a Cambodian microfinance institute, to boost the access to funding of micro, small, and medium rural and agricultural enterprises, most of which are owned by women.

The syndication to PRASAC Microfinance Institution Ltd, the country's biggest microfinance provider, comprises $20 million each from Thai banks - Kiatnakin Bank, Siam Commercial Bank, and TMB Bank, and $5 million from ING Bank NV. This syndication supplements IFC's $10 million own-account loan made in April to support PRASAC's continued expansion of its micro loan portfolio.

The loan marks the first time that a group of Thai banks has made a syndicated loan of this size to Cambodian borrowers. Long-term funding will enable PRASAC to extend more loans to small businesses and low-to-middle-income borrowers, 85 per cent of whom are women.

"SCB is pleased to be part of the syndicated loan for PRASAC and especially proud of the fact that the loan will contribute to the expansion of small businesses in Cambodia," said Kamalkant Agarwal, head of International Banking at Siam Commercial Bank.

Demand for loans from micro and small businesses is high in the country, where an estimated 40 per cent of the population lives on less than $2 per day. By investing in and mobilising funding for Cambodian microfinance institutions, IFC aims to expand microfinance lending beyond the 845,000 borrowers that it currently reaches through its support of four microfinance lenders in the country.

"The syndicated loan for PRASAC exemplifies our continued support to Cambodian financial institutions that are the conduits to business creation and growth, to employment, and to higher standards of living," said Adel Meer, IFC's Financial Institutions Group Manager for East Asia and the Pacific. "IFC is committed to helping its clients in emerging markets increase their access to long-term financing."

IFC's syndicated lending programme has mobilised over $50 billion from more than 500 financial institutions for over 1,000 projects in more than 110 emerging markets since the programme was established in 1957. As of December 30, 2014, IFC's syndicated loan portfolio under management totalled $15.4 billion.

"Expanding lending to micro borrowers and smaller businesses is a focus of PRASAC's growth and expansion strategy," said SimSenacheert, PRASAC's chief executive officer. "We appreciate IFC's support in mobilizing other international lenders to provide much-needed long-term funding for us to realise our strategy."

-- The Nation 2015-07-01

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