Message from the ChairmanAmret marked its 25th anniversary in 2016. Over the years, Amret has developed from an innovative NGO project, launched when Cambodia was emerging from decades of humanitarian crisis, to being one of the top three MDIs in Cambodia. Today Amret has prestigious shareholders and is fully integrated into the Advans Group, a group of financial institutions serving micro, small and medium scale enterprises in 10 countries in Asia and Africa
After 25 years, Amret‘s goal remains the same: to provide target clients with the financial services they need. Since its creation, Amret has contributed significantly to accelerating financial inclusion in Cambodia and it will continue to do so, through expanding its outreach and developing new products and services to respond to the changing needs of its clients. Amret’s commitment to serving clients responsibly was recognized in June 2016 when it was awarded SMART Campaign certification. This puts Amret at the forefront of the Cambodian microfinance industry and confirms its clear commitment to providing sustainable financial solutions for populations who are excluded from the mainstream banking sector.
Despite a competitive microfinance market and growing concerns about client over-indebtedness, Amret has been able to remain a market leader and keep its portfolio-at-risk to a minimum. It has focused on diversifying its loan products, with more emphasis on developing its portfolio of MSME and home improvement loans. Amret has also continually adapted its strategy to minimise risk through concentrating the development of its lending activity in areas and sectors less affected by over-indebtedness.
Amret has also managed to build up and maintain high levels of profitability over the years, thanks to its continued expansion and consistent strive to improve its organizational efficiency. This enables Amret to reinvest its profits in building capacity and developing institutional strength while offering returns to its shareholders. The financial solidity of Amret means that it will be able to serve a more diversified and wider range of clients responsibly for years to come.
The Advans Group continues to back Amret in its development, with ongoing long-distance support, shared projects and exchange missions. The Advans Myanmar project, which got underway in December, gives Amret the chance to embark on an ambitious greenfield project with Advans. A dedicated of team of Advans and Amret staff are now on site preparing for the opening of the affiliate in 2017. This exciting launch is an opportunity to combine the expertise of Advans and Amret and increase the Advans Group’s outreach in Asia, and is therefore crucial to the group’s long-term development. This year the September Advans SA Board meeting took place in Phnom Penh, in recognition of the outstanding social and financial performances of Amret, as a responsible institution and key affiliate of the Advans Group.
The coming years will see Amret looking to further improve the range and quality of its services, including introducing life and micro insurance products and overdraft facilities, providing more flexible, easy and immediate access to short-term credit and improved technology-based payment services (ATMs, interbank transfer by National Switch, mobile banking) as allowed by regulations. Amret aims to use a combination of delivery channels on top of its traditional branch network to ensure that clients can access services near their homes and workplaces. Amret will also be working on refining its targeting of specific client segments to ensure that it offers client-centred product packages that both meet clients’ needs and help them to build their financial security. Amret will improve its sales efficiency and ensure clients have relevant knowledge of its products through cross-selling in branches and installing applications software to make services easier to use.
On the lending side, Amret will continue to concentrate on building its SME and micro loan portfolios, and will also look to provide more housing, home improvement and consumption loans to cater for clients’ personal financial needs and improve their living standards. Financing agricultural activities will remain an integral part of Amret’s mission, as it has been from the start, especially as the sector will need considerable amounts of financing in the coming years. Amret will maintain its emphasis on sustaining a healthy portfolio, with a well-defined credit risk management strategy that reflects current market developments.
I would like to conclude by thanking Amret’s management and staff for their continued commitment and dedication to making Amret the successful institution it is today. I would also like to thank all shareholders for their continued support. Together we will continue to strive to ensure that Amret remains an industry leader offering quality and innovative services that respond to the needs of underserved populations in Cambodia.
Executive Director, Advans SA