Banking Institute Launched

The Association of Banks in Cambodia launched an institute to train employees of all the country’s licensed banks Wednes­day night at the Hotel Intercontinent­al.

The Cambodian Institute of Bank­ing hopes to upgrade the financial sector’s human resourc­es, which were severely depleted during past war-ridden decades.

“We did not have cadres of lo­cal professionals with training and experience in modern banking techniques, nor were there significant numbers of experienced Cambodian expatriates available to fill the needs,” said Andy Kun, secretary-general of the association, in a speech at the launch.

Bank employees who take courses at the institute will learn basic banking functions and can request specialized training. Classes will begin in March.

“The institute will help to strength­­en the financial sector,” Min­ister of Finance Keat Chhon told reporters at the event.

To keep course fees down, the in­stitute will employ just two trainers and an office manager. It plans to hire external trainers when demand increases or specialized expertise is required.

“For businesses to grow and modernize, they need adequate affordable financing, and this is in short supply,” said Dorothy Ber­ry, a senior official with the Inter­na­tional Finance Corpora­tion, the private sector arm of the World Bank, which is assisting the institute along with the Asian Devel­op­ment Bank and the Asean Bankers’ Association.

A study recently conducted by the Mekong Private Sector Dev­elopment Facility, an IFC initiative, found that few bank staff have extensive experience in assessing and managing risk. This, among other things, contributes to the inability of many small businesses to qualify for loans.

Officials are hopeful the new institute will lead to better financial services and, subsequently, job creation. The institute, Andy Kun said, “will produce the broad base of professional bankers that the country so urgently needs.”

 

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