People use an ACLEDA ATM on Monivong Boulevard in Phnom Penh. Photo by: Will Baxter
Tuesday, 15 February 2011 15:00 May Kunmakara
THE number of new bank machines in Cambodia increased by 35 percent last year, raising numbers to 501 Automated Teller Machines nationwide, the National Bank of Cambodia has reported.
NBC recorded that 130 new ATMs were installed by commercial banks last year, bringing the total Kingdom-wide to 501 at the end of 2010 – a rise of 35 percent on 2009.
Bankers said the increase in ATM installation was due to an improving banking sector, which had pushed lenders to open new branches.
ACLEDA installed 22 new machines, a representative said, bringing its total to 112 since its first ATM was launched in 2007. It plans to install another 11 this year.
“We continue to install more as we know the high demand from our customers,” said So Phonnary, executive vice president and chief operation officer at ACLEDA.
Ong Ming Tech, deputy general manager of Cambodian public bank, told The Post the company had installed seven more ATMs at new branches in 2010 – five in Phnom Penh and one in Bavet in Svay Rieng province and one in Kampot province.
But ANZ Royal Chief Executive Officer Stephen Higgins said that his bank was relocating underused ATMs rather than introducing more to its 130-strong network.
ATMs were reportedly first introduced in Cambodia by Canadia Bank in 2004.
Their popularity has since grown and an ATM card is one of the top three items Cambodians would like to own, according to a survey released late last year by Indochina Research.
The Kingdom’s ATMs were hit by an arbitrage scheme recently, which saw millions of dollars in cash drawn out by Vietnamese cardholders wishing to profit from a gap between the dong’s official and black market exchange rate, also offered legally by Cambodian money changers.
Deposits and loans in the Kingdom’s banking industry increased by 26.3 percent and 26.7 percent respectively last year, while the rate of non-performing loans declined to 3 percent by the end of 2010 from 6 percent at the end of 2009, according to the report of Cambodia’s banking sector released last week.