Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on banks and microfinance institutions (MFIs) to be more understanding in restructuring loans, easing interest rates or delaying repayments to customers affected by the recent floods.
He was speaking to victims in flood-stricken Mongkol Borei district in northwestern Banteay Meanchey province on Wednesday on a visit to offer aid to the more than 10,000 families facing hardships following the devastating deluges.
“I’d like to implore banks and MFIs to be more lenient with debt – delay repayments, cut down interest rates, do something – concerning those who have lost their income due to Covid-19, such as workers whose factories have shuttered.
“Be more sympathetic to those who are suffering in localities hit especially hard by floods – ease repayment schedules; delay repayments at lower interest rates in these times of hardship.
“I am confident that banks and MFIs understand this – these tragedies have and are inflicting pain on our people,” Hun Sen said.
On the same day, the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) echoed the prime minister’s plea for the Kingdom’s lenders to continue to cooperate and take into consideration the borrowers most affected by the floods.
The NBC reiterated its call for banks and financial institutions to reduce loan-related fees, restructure loans, waive penalties, and pause foreclosure and repossession action during Covid-19 to ease the burden on borrowers.
Acleda Bank Plc president and group managing director In Channy told The Post on Wednesday that his bank was ready to do its part to help customers affected by the floods.
He noted that Acleda has been developing and implementing its flood strategy for more than 21 years.
“Our bank is on board with the government’s appeal. It provides credit through its credit mapping approach and is always ready, year after year, to lend [to our customers] in full understanding of the geographical location, season and weather conditions,” Channy said.
He said as of September 30, Acleda had outstanding loans to the tune of $3.9 billion for 413,613 customers.
Prasac Microfinance Institution Ltd (Prasac) executive vice-president Say Sony told The Post that most of his MFI’s flood-hit clients were based in Banteay Meanchey, Battambang and Pursat provinces.
“Prasac continues to lend to clients who are affected by flooding if they need money to restart their business.
“If they have any difficulty during this time they can come to talk to us for a win-win solution together. However, we do hope that most agricultural production will increase in yield because there is enough water,” he said.
Sony said as of September 30, Prasac had $2.86 billion in outstanding loans – up 14.43 per cent from the end of last year – to 437,000 customers.
On Wednesday, the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) reported that the rain-induced floods had affected 104,348 households – or 410,782 people – across 19 provinces.
On Sunday, it reported that the floods had affected nearly 170,000ha of rice crop, of which 32,382ha were completely destroyed. More than 73,000ha of cash crop had been damaged, with 38,000ha completely destroyed. More than 344km of national and provincial roads and nearly 1,500km of rural roads had been harmed.