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Central Bank Sees No Emergency Loan Requests

Not a single lending institution in six months has taken the National Bank up on an offer of emergency loan assistance, officials said Friday.

Emergency loans are available to banks facing liquidity constraints in the wake of the global financial crisis, but so far “none of the banks have applied for a loan,” according to Hang Chuon Naron, director-general of the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

“They aren’t facing a liquidity shortage,” he told VOA Khmer Friday. “There is no crisis among Cambodian banks.”

The International Monetary Fund and World Bank have both warned that at least three major banks in the country are facing liquidity problems, due to non-performing loans and dwindling deposits. None of the banks has been named.

The National Bank announced in January it had prepared a $100-million in short-term loans to aid banks with funding shortages, to help with unforeseen emergencies after the US financial crisis rippled through global markets.

None of the nation’s nearly 50 banks and other financial institutions applied for the temporary, three-month loans.

“Up to now we haven’t needed a loan from the National Bank, because we have already partnered with a strong shareholder,” said Cheap Tieng, chief of treasury and an international officer at Acleda Bank.

Chheang Meng Heak, an economist at the Royal University of Law and Economics, said there may be strict requirements and other complications in the National Bank loans, prompting institutions to look for loans from foreign banks instead.