MFIs seek regulator’s support

The apex body for the nation’s microfinance industry announced yesterday that the central bank had tentatively agreed to a number of measures it had requested to ease the burden on microfinance lenders following last week’s unilateral decision to cap annual interest rates at 18 percent as of April 1. Hout Ieng Tong, chairman of the Cambodia Microfinance Association, told reporters that senior officials at the National Bank of Cambodia had “agreed in principle” to reduce the annual licence fee of microfinance lenders affected by the new interest rate ceiling and provide loans in Khmer riel directly to microfinance institutions while acting as a guarantor. He said the NBC would consider postponing a 12.5 percent reserve requirement on borrowing that was supposed to apply to microfinance deposit-taking institutions this year, as well as the deadline for microlenders to reach their revised minimum capital requirements.

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