Banking and MFI Professionals from around the World Learn about Amret’s Innovative Products
Phnom Penh, July 21, 2015 -Senior microfinance institution professionals and bankers from around the world took a four-day study tour in Cambodia to learn about innovative agricultural lending practices carried out by Amret, one of the country’s leading microfinance institutions.
The study tour – How Can MFIs And Banks Better Serve Agricultural Clients - was hosted by the World Bank’s Agricultural Finance Support Family (AgriFin) in cooperation with Amret.
21 MFI professionals and bankers from countries like Canada, Nepal, China, Uganda, and the US participated the study tour.
“On behalf of Amret, we’re very excited and proud that the World Bank chose us for a study tour with delegates from over 13 countries to learn about Amret’s Agriculture Loan which is a product for Cambodian farmers. So we are very proud for this”, said Dos Dinn, Deputy CEO of Amret.
The group visited Amret’s field offices in Kampong Chhnang and in Tbong Khmum provinces, where they got a close look at farm operations managed by Amret’s clients.
“If we have money but don’t have enough land and needs more capital, we can borrow from Amret to develop our farm”, said Keo Sokun, Amret’s agricultural loan customer.
The professionals examined how mobile banking enables Amret to increase penetration in rural areas and reach agricultural clients in a more cost-effective way.
“I really like the service as I can deposit and withdraw money easily. It’s really convenient and quick”, said Heng SokHeang, Amret’s customer.
The tour provided banking and MFI professionals with in-depth technical understanding of Amret’s operations and demonstrated how a financial institution can penetrate a new market in a successful manner.
This tour convinced to me that doing agricultural lending can be very successful as long as we have good methodologies, we have good thinking, and we have a good team... China has many aspects that are very close to Cambodia.... So I think many lessons we learnt here can be done in China... We will try to duplicate it”, said Zhang Jingang, Micro-Credit Consultant at Shanghai Micro-Fan Consulting Firm.
Mr. Munichan Kung, Rural Development Operation Officer at World Bank Cambodia said “Our cooperation on AgriFin project is being concluded smoothly and successfully and the study tour hosting to the bankers from Africa and Asia was also very much superb and dedicated in sharing the knowledge and experiences of Amret. “It has been highly evaluated both by the participants and the World Bank AgriFin Coordinator.” He added.
The World Bank has partnered with Amret through its AgriFin project to support the establishment of an agricultural lending and Mobile Financial Services teams at Amret’s office and strengthen its capacity to serve a wide range of agricultural and rural clients.
The project has focused on three components including developing the agriculture lending skills, design new loan products to respond to farmers with larger financing needs and enhancing Amret’s service delivery to reach remote farmers and rural populations through mobile banking services.
As of late 2014, the AgriFin loans topped $US 11.6 M, which is equivalent to 4 percent of Amret’s total loan portfolio; while mobile banking services are still at pilot phase.