Many Cambodians still misunderstand the benefits of banking and finance, preferring the dollar to the riel and avoiding savings accounts to their detriment, a bank official said Monday.
Channy Ung, director of Acleda Bank, the third largest in bank in Cambodia, said that putting just a little money in the country’s banks would increase their ability to distribute credit. At the same time, people would earn interest, he said, something they cannot get from money stashed at home.
The Khmer Rouge abolished banks and money, in an era that saw several regime and currency changes, leading to a deep-rooted distrust of banks.
But a large increase in the number of people making deposits meant trust was returning, Channy Ung said, as a guest on “Hello VOA.”
About 90 percent of the money deposited in 2007 was in US dollars, however, he said, showing that people still did not trust the national currency.
The riel had not lost its value, he said, and inflation has been steady for a long time. But the national bank still does not require the sole use of the riel.
Channy Ung said the banks existed as a place for financial safety, which could include freezing assets of criminals at the behest of the national bank and courts.
“But so far there is no money freezing against any company without reason and without proper authorization from the Central Bank,” he said.