THE POWER OF DATA

Since its in­cep­tion in 2012, Credit Bureau Cam­bo­dia has sup­ported the King­dom’s dy­namic eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment by pro­vid­ing up-to-date credit in­for­ma­tion to big and small lenders alike. CEO Oeur Sot­hearoath opens up about the bureau’s big plans for the futu

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For more than six years, Credit Bureau Cam­bo­dia (CBC) has worked hard to en­sure that the King­dom’s fi­nan­cial sec­tor has ac­cess to the data it needs to prac­tice low-risk, re­spon­si­ble lend­ing. But even in the age of in­for­ma­tion, know­ing who to trust is not al­ways so sim­ple. CBC CEO Oeur Sot­hearoath said that in­for­ma­tion asym­me­try was one of the main chal­lenges pre­vent­ing fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions from prop­erly mit­i­gat­ing risk.

“The so­lu­tion that we are pro­vid­ing for them is to en­able fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions to know their cus­tomers well through our credit re­port­ing ser­vice,” he said. “Mean­ing that cur­rently, be­fore you get a loan from a bank, the bank can check your credit re­port to see whether you have any loan re­la­tion­ship and what your pay­ment be­hav­iour is. This en­sures that banks not only know their cus­tomers well, but that they loan re­spon­si­bly.”

By pro­mot­ing ac­cess to fi­nance, Mr Sot­hearoath said, CBC has played an essen­tial role in Cam­bo­dia’s me­te­oric eco­nomic growth.

“Credit Bureau doesn’t only help fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions – we also fa­cil­i­tate the de­vel­op­ment of the econ­omy as a whole,” he said. “Credit Bureau pro­motes ac­cess to fi­nance – this is our main ob­jec­tive. We are try­ing to give more be­havioural in­for­ma­tion to the lenders to en­sure that at the end of the day, you as the lenders have ac­cess to that full in­for­ma­tion – and as a re­sult, can lower your op­er­at­ing cost, and en­cour­age bet­ter ac­cess to fi­nance as well.”

Mr Sot­hearoath cited Cam­bo­dia’s steady climb through the World Bank’s an­nual Do­ing Busi­ness re­ports as tes­ta­ment to CBC’s mis­sion to make fi­nance more ac­ces­si­ble to lenders both big and small. In 2012, be­fore the bureau be­gan op­er­a­tions, Cam­bo­dia was ranked 98 on the list in terms of credit ac­cess. Six years on, the King­dom has risen to num­ber 20.

For years, CBC’s land­mark prod­uct has been its in­di­vid­ual con­sumer credit re­port, which com­piles a cus­tomer’s pay­ment his­tory into a man­age­able for­mat to fa­cil­i­tate credit ac­cess ap­pli­ca­tions. In ad­di­tion, CBC has de­vel­oped sev­eral so­lu­tions such as port­fo­lio mon­i­tor­ing, per­son­alised K-score, and data an­a­lyt­ics to help mem­bers mon­i­tor their loan port­fo­lio and mit­i­gate risks. Now, Mr Sot­hearoath said, CBC was work­ing on ex­pand­ing that ser­vice.

“Cur­rently, our core prod­uct is the con­sumer credit re­port,” he said. “But now we’re build­ing what we call our com­mer­cial credit bureau, mean­ing that in the near fu­ture com­pa­nies in Cam­bo­dia with ac­cess to bank loans will have their credit re­ports avail­able by the end of this year.”

Most im­por­tant, though, has been the shift in think­ing of Cam­bo­dia’s fi­nan­cial sec­tor – and it is this chang­ing mind­set, Mr Sot­hearoath said, that will un­der­write the next decade of the King­dom’s eco­nomic pros­per­ity.

“If you look at these fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions that we have worked with for six years now as a whole, you do see a be­havioural change in the fi­nan­cial sec­tor,” he said. “Pre­vi­ously, they used to check the credit re­ports just to com­ply with the rules and reg­u­la­tions in this coun­try – but now they tend to check with the ob­jec­tive of get­ting more in­sight into the con­sumers. So I can say that the de­mand to know about their cus­tomers and data ac­cu­racy is hap­pen­ing in this space al­ready.”

Con­tact us: 023 999 006 or bis@cred­it­bu­reau­cam­bo­dia.com

Credit Bureau Cam­bo­dia CEO Oeur Sot­hearoath

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