The unfolding microcredit scandal in Cambodia involves two well-respected European banks, BRED in France and Triodos Bank in the Netherlands.
Both subscribe to the concept of “ethical banking.” But each has a stake of 12.5% in ACLEDA, Cambodia’s biggest commercial bank and the local leader in microcredit.
ACLEDA, which stands for “Association of Cambodian Local Economic Development Agencies” is not just any bank. It has undergone a horrible metamorphosis since its origins. It was established in 1993 as a non-profit making, non-government organization, financed and supported by the United Nations Development Programme and the International Labour Organization, with the aim of helping refugees, widows and other victims of war to escape from poverty.