ANZ Royal Bank: International ATMs About 3 Months Away

ANZ Royal Bank, a joint venture between one of Australia’s four largest banks and the Royal Group, aims to open its first five Cambodian branches in two to three months, ANZ Royal Chief Executive Dean Cleland said Thurs­day.

The exact opening dates of the four Phnom Penh branches and a Siem Reap branch de­pends on staff training, the readiness of buildings and how soon tech­nology will be in place, he said.

“The property market is challenging here….The properties have been acquired, but the buildings require work,” Cleland said, during an interview at one of the future branches on Phnom Penh’s Sihanouk Boulevard. “The skills of the job applicants were low, so we will have to conduct intensive training.”

ANZ Royal is chaired by Kith Meng, head of the Royal Group, with a 55 percent controlling stake held by ANZ.

It will be the first retail bank with major international standing to enter Cambo­dia and will be the first to offer internationally linked automated teller machines, a ma­jor draw for tourists.

“Anyone with Maestro or Cir­rus network cards will be able to ac­cess their accounts,” Cleland said.

ANZ’s market strategy, based on a survey of 3,000 households, will involve convincing Cambo­dians that banks are more than just savings institutions, he said.

“Cambodians believe they do not have enough money to put in banks because they view banks as savings institutions,” he said. “In the US, Australia and other countries, banking has become a convenience…. Once the market sees it can get 24-hour access to its mo­ney, the perception will change.”

Though consumer confidence in banks has been shaky since 11 banks liquidated five years ago, ANZ will not offer deposit insurance. It will instead, as a mem­ber of the Bankers Asso­ci­a­tion, lobby to have the industry adopt a de­po­sit-insurance system.

Cleland said ANZ’s objective is not to steal market share from ex­is­ting banks but to rein in the es­timated 90 percent of cash savings currently not being deposited in banks.

“That is a great statistic for us,” he said.

At first the bank will only offer business loans.

Mortgages and personal loans may come later. Interest rates will be determined by the market, he said.

While the Asian Development Bank on Wednesday predicted just 2.3 GDP percent growth this year in Cambodia, Cleland said this has not dampened ANZ Roy­al’s outlook.

“We are in Cambodia for the long term,” he said.

“Our level of service will not make us the cheapest option in the market,” he said, adding that ANZ’s fees have not been determined yet.

 

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