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Cambodia's micro-lenders see 44 pct lending growth last year

PHNOM PENH, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia's 38 microfinance institutions reported a 44 percent increase in loan disbursements in 2013, according to a report of the National Bank of Cambodia ( NBC), the regulator of banking and finance institutions in the country.

The microfinance institutions had lent a total 1.17 billion U.S. dollars to customers last year, up 44 percent from 813 million U.S. dollars in a year earlier, said the NBC's annual report posted on its website on Sunday.

The report said nonperforming loan rate, or bad loan, was only 0.7 percent last year.

On the deposit side, the customers' deposits at the microfinance institutions had increased by 61 percent to 364 million U.S. dollars last year from 226 million U.S. dollars in a year earlier.

NBC's Governor Chea Chanto said the current assets at the microfinance institutions represented about 10 percent of the current assets in the whole banking sector.

"Microfinance institutions have continued developing rapidly," he said in the report. "Currently, the micro-lenders have been serving about 2.4 million customers."

Cambodia sees microfinance institutions as a key player in helping the government reduce poverty in rural areas and the sector has been well developed in recent years.

Generally, the maximum size of a loan micro-lenders offer is 10, 000 U.S. dollars.

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