A Message from CEO
JASON WONG LING CHUNG, CEO of HH BANK
Welcome to HH BANK and thank you for visiting our website.
Our Bank was incorporated and commenced operations in March 2021 in the midst of a challenging period for many in Cambodia and across the world. Cambodia’s economy registered its worst performance since 1994, contracting by 3.1%. Tourism took the biggest hit, international visitor arrivals for 2020 fell by 79% from the previous year. However, on a positive note, the manufacturing sector saw 221 new factory set-ups in 2020 versus 100 factories closing. The total number of workers employed is 900,000. Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) towards the finance, construction & real estate and manufacturing sectors recorded $3.5 billion in 2020, declining by 1%. FDI to the finance sector accounts for one-third of total FDIs and it experienced a positive growth rate of 12.8% in 2020. There were reinvested earnings, new banks, capital injection of banks and some microfinance institutions successfully transitioning to commercial banks. Meanwhile, FDI to non-banking sectors decreased by 9.4%. Global FDI fell by 42% in 2020 but Asian developing economies fared better, averaging a drop of only 4%.
Cambodia was praised by the international community for its swift and coordinated vaccination program resulting in the early re-opening of the country for business. Real GDP was projected to grow 2.2% for 2021 and if not for the emergence of Omicron, we could have done better. For 2022, GDP is expected at 5.3% and for 2023, 6.5%. Inflation rates are forecasted at 4.7% and 2.2% for the respective years. Cambodia had been successful in alleviating poverty up until Covid happened. Over the 10-year period between 2009 and 2019, it saw a 1.9 percentage point decline in poverty rate per year, driven largely by wage earning. This was all reversed in 2020 and poverty rates are higher than pre-pandemic. Employment has also yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.
I hold a very positive outlook for this 2022 and beyond. We are a new kid on the financial scene and a small player but based on my banking experience, I believe we have done our research and collected sufficient data within and outside the organization to implement a strategy of growth and expansion. We have a strong management team with diverse skill sets, we draw strength from the wisdom of elder generation and creativity and energy from the young ones. For myself, I endeavor bring out the best in them and equip them to grow in the organization starting with talent acquisition and continues with talent management. We aim to contribute positively to a robust Cambodian economy by partnering with the Royal Government of Cambodia and aligning with their goals for a win-win situation for everyone. We were relatively unscathed from the pandemic and now we need to help our fellow businesses who were affected to get back on their feet.
In the last few months alone, our deposits reached USD 181 million and loan books grew to USD 24 million. Despite provisions for a strong capital adequacy ratio and liquidity position, we project a modest Return on Equity (ROE) in 2024. Our focus for 2022 is growing our CASA, increase loan growth while strictly adhering to regulatory requirements. We will also channel resources, including heavy upfront capital investment, to develop technology and digital capability. We want to deliver a high quality, accessible and customer-centric mobile application amongst other developments. Last but not least, we strive to bridge the gap for the under-banked and under-served segments of the population.
This can be accomplished through greater connectivity and investments in rural areas. In line with this initiative, our branch networks based on our 5-year plan is scattered across all provinces with only 8 out of 20 branches in Phnom Penh.
I am honored to be part of Cambodia’s financial industry at a time where there is space to shape the landscape amidst challenges. I am grateful for the dedication and hard working colleagues because start-ups are never easy. I would also like to thank our clients, National Bank of Cambodia, stakeholders and people who believed in us, supported us and helped us achieve small wins.
I accept the responsibility to make a difference and I stand by the bank’s motto, Banking For A Better Tomorrow. May 2022 bring a new season of prosperity and peace to the people and businesses of Cambodia and beyond.
Jason Wong Ling Chung, CEO