Throughout its history, AMK’s commitment to its social goals has been absolute. AMK’s comprehensive social performance management framework ensures that the organization stays focused on its mission of assisting large numbers of low income people. In 2018, AMK celebrated 15 years by welcoming a new shareholder: The Shanghai Commercial & Savings Bank.
Roots in Microcredit Intervention
AMK Microﬁnance Institution Plc. (AMK) started as a micro-credit program by Concern Worldwide in the 1990s. In 2002, as operations grew, coupled with regulation requirements by the National Bank of Cambodia, Concern decided to create a separate microﬁnance company which became known as AMK. By 2003, AMK was functioning independently from Concern Worldwide and subsequently received its license from the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) in 2004.
By 2005, AMK had made its first operating profit, had its first external debt funding approved, and had created a social performance management mechanism. In the following years, AMK experienced rapid growth in its core credit business, extending its branch network to every province of the country.
Deposit Taking License
In 2010, AMK began a strategic transformation, from a rural credit-only business into a broader provider of microfinance services. This strategy was driven by the ambition to provide a wider array of financial services to Cambodia’s under-served population and thereby further assist them in improving their livelihood options. 2010 was a milestone year when AMK received its license from the National Bank of Cambodia as a Microfinance Deposit-taking Institution (MDI).
More Products and Services
During 2011/12, with approval from the National Bank of Cambodia, AMK pioneered Branchless Banking by offering deposit products to low-income households through an agent network. This service specifically targeted households who may not have been able to access the same service at any bank or MDI office.
In 2011, AMK added money transfers to its service offering across it branch and agent network, targeting small domestic transfers with a competitive fee structure.
In 2013, AMK introduced ATMs/CDMs, a channel which has subsequently been expanded to all branches.
In 2014, AMK began offering health and accident insurance policies (in partnership with the largest private insurer in Cambodia) to AMK’s loan clients as a pilot, which was then rolled out across the country in 2015. Over 80% of AMK’s clients now take out insurance policies for themselves and about 25% buy additional policies for their spouse. In the same year, AMK started its digital transformation. The first digital transformation project is its lending business. AMK developed an inhouse loan origination system which allowed loan officers to conduct business in the field with their clients wirelessly via a Tablet. It not only allowed better information to be captured but simplified the whole loan origination process in AMK, leading to cost saving and better response to client needs.
In 2019/2020, AMK migrated its core banking and switching system to a new platform, to enable AMK to execute its digital transformation goal and respond to a rapidly changing market. The new core banking and switching successfully went live on Jan 01 2019 across all branch and operational areas. Since then, AMK has introduced a number of new digital products such as AMK’s Mobile Banking App, AMK Pay (Merchant QR payment), Client Referral App, and integrated with a third party to pilot a digital loan application using a chatbot to streamline the process. In addition, AMK has fully integrated with Bakong platform (Blockchain technology implemented by National Bank of Cambodia to allow inter-bank operability among all licensed providers), CSS (Cambodia Share Switch), FAST Payment and integrated with over 300 billers in Cambodia. AMK launched its first international money transfer services with Swift, and various partner in the region.
AMK has fully adopted the client protection principles of SMART CAMPAIGN, the International Consumer Advocacy body, which was certified in 2016. AMK continues its commitment to this code and successfully passed the mid-term review in 2018. Currently, AMK is under review by an independent rating agency for recertification: https://www.centerforfinancialinclusion.org/about/what-we-do/the-smart-campaign/certified-organizations
Moreover, AMK adheres to the following code of practice for client protection, which is enshrined in AMK’s operating policies and procedures and is monitored through AMK’s internal audit and social performance management functions.
- Inclusive: AMK will maximize the inclusion of low-income and other marginalized populations with AMK products and services.
- Avoidance of over-indebtedness: AMK will limit client exposure to their capacity to repay and will seek to avoid client over-indebtedness as much as possible.
- Transparent pricing: AMK will provide its clients with complete information on product features, prices, and obligations and will ensure transparency in all product and transaction pricing.
- Ethical staff behavior: AMK will ensure ethical and respectful behavior of staff towards clients.
- Freedom of choice: AMK will facilitate and promote freedom of choice to its clients.
- Appropriate collection practices: AMK’s debt collection practices will be reasonable and collaborative and will never be abusive or coercive.
- Mechanisms for redress of grievances: AMK will provide clients with appropriate and accessible mechanisms for complaint and problem resolution.
- Privacy of client data: The privacy of client data will be respected unless disclosure is required by law or consent from the client.