The Association of Banks in Cambodia (ABC) and the Cambodia Microfinance Association (CMA) are working together with members over the allegation on suicides and attempted suicides due to over-aggressive handling by loan officers in Ratanakkiri recently.
According to a joint statement by both parties, there have been allegations of a number of alleged suicides and attempted suicides due to over-aggressive handling by loan officers in the northeastern province, which it is considering seriously.
The ABC and CMA strongly advocate and support the agenda on Responsible Lending and Consumer Protection.
“We [ABC and AMA] have requested the individual institutions in the report to conduct a thorough review of the accounts. We also strongly believe that an independent investigation is needed to ensure the integrity of the findings,” the statement read.
“Should there be misconduct found, we strongly support disciplinary actions to be taken against the institutions or individuals concerned. We believe such action is necessary to restore the reputation and confidence of our financial system.”
Both the associations appreciated the interests of the NGOs on the matter, and hoped that in future they would work together constructively to protect consumer interests.
The ABC and CMA, with the support from the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), continue to strongly advocate both Financial Literacy and Financial Access agenda alongside ensuring all members adhere to our Responsible Lending and Code of Conduct.
“We will also continue to review our individual credit assessment and collection policies and make necessary refinements to ensure the right balance approach is taken, where the interest of both Customers and Banks/MFIs are protected,” it stated.
According to Kaing Tongngy, a spokesperson of CMA, the association received information from the media and NGOs regarding four suicides and one attempted suicide alleging its connection with the microfinance institution.
“It is such a serious case that has never happened at the microfinance institution so we are working with our members to collect information and evidence.
“So far, we have not found any direct involvement between microfinance institution and the client leading to committed suicides or an attempted suicide. This is just the audit report from each microfinance institution.
“With our standing point, we need to have an independent investigator to audit to make sure that the allegations of suicide or attempted suicides were driven by the pressure of the microfinance and the bank.
“This is so that we can take action on those who were involved and face justice. If there is no evidence, that would help safeguard our integrity and reputation,” he told The Post on August 9.
According to the NBC, as of June 2023, Cambodia has 59 commercial banks, nine specialised banks, five deposit-taking microfinance institutions, 82 non-deposit-taking microfinance institutions and 118 rural credit institution.