Banking and Technology

MoU Signed to Push Financial Literacy

A groundbreaking MoU has been signed between three major financial institutions to promote financial literacy nationwide as part of Cambodia’s digitization journey
The MoU between the Association of Banks in Cambodia, Cambodia Microfinance Association and Cambodian Association of Finance and Technology. Kiripost/supplied
The MoU between the Association of Banks in Cambodia, Cambodia Microfinance Association and Cambodian Association of Finance and Technology. Kiripost/supplied

Associations of Banks and Microfinance Institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Monday with a FinTech federation to promote financial literacy and inclusion as part of a move towards greater digital adoption.

Pell Remi Sisophon, Chairman of Cambodian Association of Finance and Technology (CAFT), quoted Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company, in his speech at the ceremony. Ford was the chief developer of the assembly line technique of mass production, which was a game-changing innovation during that time.

The MoU was signed between the Association of Banks in Cambodia, Cambodia Microfinance Association (CMA) and CAFT.

“Mr Ford said, coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is a success,” Sisophon quoted Ford as saying, adding that this statement highlights the essence of collaboration.

In the early days of CAFT, Sisophon said they had come to be known as the “new kid on the block” and also during this time the term of disruption was coined, which did not help their acceptance much but helped to feed and fuel the increased apprehension of FinTech.

He added that nonetheless, as time has transpired and as the hype began to dissipate, a number of industry players found innovative ways to work together. Banking and financial institutions began to embrace the disruption by creating an open banking platform and fully integrating into the new Application Programming Interface (API) economy, Sisophon said.

He said there are many examples of collaboration on this front, however, this collaboration, came-to-light last month, when a prominent local commercial bank and a prominent payment service provider came together to innovate. The icing on the cake was that they invited a prominent insurance company to join hands to create a modern financial product to target specific demographics of millennials and Generation Z.

“More specifically, the two most noteworthy characteristics of Generation Z is that they almost have no memory of life before smartphones, and they have grown up with the internet since day one,” Sisophon said.

“Each of our respective associations aims to bring to the table each other's strengths, but honestly at times their weaknesses too,” Sisophon said. “Nevertheless, this shall not cast a shadow of gloom and we shall overcome it for the benefit of the industry, business partners, and consumers.”

He added that the industry will have more opportunities to participate in local and regional events co-organized by our associations such as CamTech, which is an online and offline event held in conjunction with the Philippine FinTech Week, Bank of Thailand Digital Conference, Singapore FinTech Festival, and this year Cambodia’s Tech Expo.

Raymond Sia, Chairman of the Association of Banks in Cambodia, said at the ceremony that the tri-party MoU is a symbol of ongoing commitment to the financial sector and Cambodian people. The MoU key agenda includes jointly cooperating to serve as industry partners for the country’s FinTech and Startup community.

Other key agendas are to jointly cooperate to execute and monitor the implementation of Banking and Financial Institutions Code of Conduct and jointly cooperate on FinTech adoption activities and capacity building.

“It is to emphasize that digitalization, innovation and technology are centered around our customers,” Sia said.

“The financial industry is a people-centric industry. Financial services are the primary need. To strengthen systems to ensure the reach of all Cambodian citizens is crucial for the success and sustainability of the sector and the economy,” he added.