Lenders come out of the dark
More than a year into a government-backed campaign to clamp down on unlicensed lenders, nearly 130 small lenders operating under the radar have come into the fold, officials said on September 8. The Ministry of Economy and Finance and the National Bank of Cambodia launched a joint campaign in February 2015 to clamp down on unlicensed lenders who often masquerade as do-good NGOs or charities to dupe individuals into borrowing at exorbitant interest rates. The lenders operate outside the purview of the central bank and have been accused of cheating borrowers and driving them deeper into debt. Mey Vann, director of MEF’s financial industry department, said a joint committee found nearly 400 lenders operating without the required NBC licence. In the last 18 months, 322 unlicensed lenders had applied for a licence, while 129 of those applications had been approved by the central bank.