The British-based bank Standard Chartered should have a full-service branch open by early next year, the bank announced Wednesday.
“We view the present economic downturn as a temporary phenomenon and, as the region pulls out of its present difficulties, we firmly believe that the prospects are bright,” a bank spokesman said in a statement.
The statement cited several factors in the company’s decision to expand, including the Asian Development Bank’s Greater Mekong Subregion initiative, increased trade among Southeast Asian countries, and finance and economic reforms in Cambodia.
Another branch will be established in Laos.
Standard Chartered first opened a representative office in Phnom Penh in 1992, focusing mainly on trade finance and providing overseas banking for multi-national firms.
The new branch will provide banking for corporations and institutions, according to the statement. The emphasis will be on promoting foreign investment in Cambodia through its global banking network.
The financial institution has not yet received a license from the National Bank of Cambodia, but said it has received a positive initial response to its application.
NBC Director of Economic Research Chea Sok said Thursday that although negotiations have begun with the bank, no application for a license had been filed yet.
But he welcomed the bank’s decision to expand its services.
“Such expansion of the branch is helpful to Cambodia because it brings modern technology and creates jobs for young generations,” Chea Sok.
He added that he hopes it will help to attract other international banks and foreign investors.
Standard Chartered would be the first Western bank to open a full-service branch in Cambodia. Other international banks that have expanded into Cambodia have been Asian.
The branch will be headed by Paul Freer, previously the commercial officer at the British Embassy in Phnom Penh.