SIM Senacheert, a high-profile financial veteran who currently helms local lender Prasac Microfinance Institution Plc, has decided to step down after nearly two decades in top posts.
His resignation comes shortly after South Korea’s KB Kookmin Bank, New York-listed KB Financial Group Inc’s (KB) commercial banking unit, completed an acquisition in October, giving the bank a 100 per cent stake in the microfinance institution (MFI).
Employed at Prasac for just over a quarter century and serving as its president and CEO for 18 years, Senacheert grew the lender from scratch, as a small institution with just a handful of branches into one of the country’s leading MFIs.
The institution now has hundreds of locations, and a wide spectrum of new digital methods and processes have been adapted and integrated into the core of its business.
In a recent financial report, Prasac said that between 2004 – when it obtained an MFI licence – and September 2021, total assets expanded 453-fold from $9 million to $4 billion, and total equity grew 1,204-fold from $526,000 to $634 million.
During the same period, its loan portfolio ballooned about 453-fold from $7.7 million to $3.5 billion, deposit balance skyrocketed from $196,000 to $2.4 billion, and number of staff grew nearly 25-fold from 372 to 9,203.
Although there was little doubt in its abilities to raise funds, Prasac on May 5 last year listed a corporate bond on the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX), allocating 1,272,000 shares in the public offering, with a total issue amount of 127.2 billion riel ($31 million).
But the CEO will most likely not resign alone – a total of seven executive committee members and senior management officers are also set to leave the company in January and February.
Senacheert sat down with The Post’s May Kunmakara to discuss his departure and his next journey.
What specifically made you decide to leave?
I’ve held the position as CEO for 18 years and have been working with Prasac for more than 25 years, hence, it is the time for me to leave, in order to pave the path for KB to fully participate in the MFI’s management.
On the other hand, I also expect that the management change will enable Prasac to move on to the next level.
To what do you attribute your success?
The success was contributed by many factors such as peace and political stability, macroeconomic stability and economic growth, enabling regulations, support from trusted and loyal clients, and all other stakeholders.
These include the government, National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), lenders, depositors, local authorities, among others, but especially thehardworking management and staff.
What motivated Prasac’s decision to list on the CSX last year?
We decided to issue a corporate bond to, among other things, participate in the development of the capital market, help to promote the utilisation of the KHR, diversify funding sources and help the liquidity position, improve our governance and disclosures, and promote Prasac to the public.
How did Prasac manage such remarkable performance during Covid, and how did it work with its most vulnerable customers to accommodate them during the economic crisis?
During these difficult times, what we’ve been striving to do is to stay with our clients, listen to them, and help them.
On a per-case basis, we restructured loans for the clients who experienced financial difficulties, provided additional credit to those who needed the funds to keep their businesses running, or to reopen.
What are your plans after leaving Prasac?
At the moment, I am free and there is no plan yet. But, I hope that I will be able to continue working in the sector so that I can utilise my experience and knowledge.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.