History of Banking Sector in Cambodia

1975: During the rule of Khmer Rouge in Cambodia

  • All banks were closed.
  • Money was abolished.


1979: End of Khmer Rouge Rule and Transition

  • The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) was established as the central bank.
  • The Foreign Trade Bank was to provide commercial banking services.
  • Cambodia currency, the Riel, was introduced in 1980.


1992 – 1998: Privately Owned and Foreign Subsidiaries

  • Foreign subsidiaries initially required minimum. capital of $5 million and 15% owned by the NBC.
  • By 1998, 32 commercial banks were licensed.


1998 – 2001: Banking Sector Reforms

  • Introduced under the new Governor H.E. Chea Chanto.
  • Abolishment of required 15% NBC stake in private owned/ foreign banks.
  • Classification of financial institutions into three categories: Full Commercial Banks (min. $13 million paid-up capital), Specialized Banks (min. $2.5 million paid-up capital), and Licensed/Registered Microfinance Institutions (MFIs).


2002 – 2008: Extension of the Banking Sector

  • The Banking Sector Reform process continues.
  • The Foreign Trade Bank was privatized.
  • New foreign banks arrived particularly from Australia, Korea, and Japan.
  • Requirement of $37.5 million minimum. capital for Commercial Banks by not later than the end of 2010.
  • Countermeasures set by NBC against over liquidity given the inflation pressure and the global credit crisis in 2008.
  • Became a member of Asia Pacific Group (APG) on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism.
  • Declared the enforcement of the Law on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism.
  • Becoming the 15th member of South-east Asia Central Bank (SEACEN).
  • 4 local banks initiated to use ATMs and Internet Banking in Cambodia.
  • Renovated the Credit Information Sharing system.


2009 – 2015: Banking Digitalization

  • Launching of mobile banking in the early of 2009.
  • Introduced an accommodative monetary policy in early 2009 by reducing the reserve requirement ratio on foreign currency deposit from 16% to 12 %.
  • Establishment of Cambodia Financial Intelligence Unit (CAFIU) on Money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism.
  • Officially launched the National Payment System in December 2012. The NBC also installed the Client Module system at its headquarters, connecting 38 members banks to the National Payment System at the National Clearing House.
  • Developed the “Shared Switch” system to expand the payment system, to support the integration of Banks´ ATMs,  and to facilitate the payment by mobile phone and internet.


2016 – Present

  • Became the 7th of 190 countries for “ease of access to loan” by World Bank Doing Business Magazine report, release in the late of 2016.
  • Launch of the new payment system, called “FAST Payment” to allow customers to transfer local currency from one bank account to another instantaneously.
  • Introduction of the “Online Banking System” with 21 members including 14 commercial banks, 1 specialized bank, and 6 microfinance deposition institution, in 2016.
  • A total of 26 hotline numbers were introduced in the capital and all provinces to answer general inquiries from the public regarding financial services.
  • Launch of the “Cambodian Shared Switch” and study on gross fast payment system with the potential accessibility of Digital currencies for inter-bank transactions.