Credit Bureau Targets Students With Workshops

Hoping to increase university students’ knowledge of Cambodia’s credit reporting system, the Credit Bureau of Cambodia (CBC) on Tuesday launched a series of workshops in Phnom Penh aimed at boosting financial literacy.

Oeur Sothearoath, head of business development at the CBC, said the first seminar, held Tuesday at Build Bright University and attended by about 120 students, sought to engage young people before they start careers.

“Each consumer has the right to get information about their credit, but they don’t seem to know what rights they have…. Students have not used credit much, but they will become potential credit users in the future,” Mr. Sothearoath said.

“After graduating, some will find jobs, but others may open their own businesses and so at that time, they will need credit,” he added.

Mr. Sothearoath said that while no dates had been set for future events, the CBC—which began operations in 2012 and now counts 109 financial institutions as members —had plans to bring the seminars to other Phnom Penh universities, as well as schools in the provinces.

Phan Sreymom, a third-year accounting student at Build Bright, said that while she was still unsure if she would need any loans, the workshop had been informative.

“At the workshop, I gained some knowledge about how to get credit: Like if we borrow money and repay regularly as scheduled, it would be easy for us to get another loan or borrow money from another bank because we build a good credit history through our regular repayment,” she said.

Kang Chandararot, director of the Cambodia Institute of Development Study, a think tank, said that emphasizing repayment was important when educating students about credit.

He said that while demand among recent graduates for loans was high, “care for repayment” was often lagging.

“If there is such a campaign to let [students] know that getting the loan is not just an opportunity, but is it also a burden, there would be a balance because currently thinking about getting loans does not equal thinking about repayment,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Anthony Jensen)

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