Timing is everything especially in Asia
Date Added: 19th June 2015 from Veda International
By John Roberts – outgoing Managing Director of Veda International
John Roberts Managing Director of Veda International had a very clear mandate from the then private equity owners to grow Veda's footprint beyond Australia & New Zealand as a leading credit information & analytics business and export its successful credit bureau software technology into emerging markets which were moving into strong growth cycles. An important play in this space was to identify emerging countries such as Cambodia who had a need for new inflows of capital to continue with infrastructure development but importantly increase liquidity access for the Micro Finance sector who invariably become the backbone of economic growth.
Working with the World Bank Veda International collaborated with the Central bank of Cambodia and the Bankers Association/ Micro Finance Association to ensure that the appropriate legislation was written and passed to allow credit reporting in that country, and with the two key associations to understand how transparent credit reporting would assist them to offer credit to existing and new customers. Cambodia has an unusual demographic mix whereby 50% of its citizens are under 35 years of age and only 4% are 65 years & over (this compares to 14.3% in NZ). This was a result of the Pol Pot regimes that lead the Khmer Rouge from 1963- 1997 and was responsible for the estimated deaths of up to 3 Million people or 25% of the population. Given this the population which is primarily rural based was very under banked and served by the financial community.
Credit Bureau Cambodia was established 2012 following an extensive RFP process by the Bankers Association of Cambodia, the Microfinance Association and the Cambodia Central Bank. Veda was successful in winning the RFP and established a joint venture company with business partners in Singapore.
Veda then spent 12 month customising its International BureauStream Credit Bureau software system for the Cambodian market, and working with the major credit providers (Banks & Micro Finance) to establish data standards for a full positive data credit bureau. In March 2012 the bureau commenced operations. The launch product was a core consumer enquiry report for loans over $500 (Banks) and loans under $500 (Micro Finance). Cambodia has an extremely large micro finance market. The bureau developed two different reports for each sector.
Since the bureau has been in operation the enquiry volumes have grown to 14,000 per day. The transparency that credit reporting brings to the credit industry in Cambodia has not only stimulated the retail credit market, it has improved Cambodia's standing from the World Bank on the measurements of 'access to credit' in Cambodia by 45 places to number 53 in the world.
With two years history of data in the bureau a product roadmap was developed to bring new initiatives to the market, the first being a Generation One bureau Score which will be used by the market to more quickly assess credit worthiness in a consistent manner.
The bureau offices are in Phnom Penh. John Roberts was Veda's board representative on this company until June 30 2015. After 10 years with the business running international which included New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Dubai & Saudi Arabia and working in North Asia & the Middle East he has left the business to establish his own consultancy which has been designed to assist New Zealand companies developing into export markets in Asia & the Middle East. He can assist at a number of different levels, board governance, strategic development, regulatory assistance, channel development, capital raising.
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