ACLEDA Bank Lao Ltd is becoming a successful financial service provider for family businesses and small and medium sized enterprises, with loans increasing since the bank set up in Laos over three years ago.
The bank's CEO and Managing Director Mr Narin Phon said in an interview on Monday it had disbursed loans to 18,375 families worth over 637 billion kip (US$79 million) by the end of last year.
The bank had disbursed loans to over 12,900 families by last June since it opened for business in July 2008.
“We plan to issue additional loans of about 201 billion kip (US$25 million) this year after disbursing 281 billion kip (US$35 million) last year,” Mr Narin said.
The bank has so far exceeded its targets because of the increasing number of family businesses and small and medium sized enterprises that comprise its customers.
ACLEDA has given loans for various family businesses such as farming, fish breeding, transport services and grocery shops, as well as personal loans.
“We issue loans starting from just 100,000 kip (US$12.5),” he said.
The bank has also seen an increase in the number of deposit accounts. It had 15,305 deposit accounts holding 244 billion kip (US$30,385,616 million) by the end of last year, up from about 152 billion kip (US$19 million) in 2010.
Currently the bank is improving its service system, hoping to introduce various facilities at service units in remote areas, including fast opening deposit accounts, withdrawals and loans.
It is testing the system now and hopes to begin the services next month. “This will cut the cost of transport for people in rural areas because they won't have to make trips into a town some distance away,” Mr Narin said.
“Previously we opened deposit accounts at service units, but customers had to wait a few days to get a passbook because we had to forward their application form to a branch nearby before a passbook could be issued.”
“But customers will be able to get a passbook immediately once the new system comes into effect because service units will be able to approve documents and forms on the spot,” he said.
ACLEDA was established as a limited company and obtained a licence as a commercial bank with total registered capital of 100 billion kip.
It had capital of 220 billion kip last year and will have 300 billion kip this year, which is in line with the Bank of the Lao PDR's directive to all commercial banks to increase their minimum capital.
Its shareholders are ACLEDA Bank Plc (Cambodia), International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group) and the Netherlands' Development Finance Company, Triodos-Doen, and Triodos Fair Share Fund.