CBC celebrates 10th Anniversary with collaborative RUPP and RULE Scholarship Awards

Tom Starkey

On the occasion of its 10th anniversary, Credit Bureau Cambodia (CBC) held its Scholarship Awards Ceremony at Rosewood Phnom Penh to competitively selected students under an innovative industry-academia partnership of CBC with Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) and Royal University of Law and Economics (RULE).

During the ceremony, five students received a CBC Scholarship Award from the CEO of CBC Mr. Oeur Sothearoath, in the presence of Dr. Oum Ravy, Vice-Rector of RUPP, and Dr. Soeun Sophorn, Vice-Rector of RULE.

In the events opening remarks, Sothearoath said that Cambodia is undergoing rapid digitalization and therefore it is important to harness its young tech-savvy population. 

“We hope that with this collaboration and scholarship scheme, we can enable students and graduates from both universities to apply learnings in the field of Technology, Analytics, and Business to solve major challenges being faced by the economy and society,” Sothearoath said.

A CBC Scholarship Scheme includes full-tuition support to talented young students enrolled in Bachelor’s degree in RUPP and RULE, internships and professional immersions and a range of corporate training and career development activities.

“This is a unique collaboration between a Cambodian company with leading national universities for preparing industry-ready graduates in the fields of Data Science and Engineering, Economics and Management with skills focused on banking and financial technology jobs,” Sothearoath added.

To read CIR Leader Talks with Oeur Sothearoath click here.

Dr. Oum Ravy, Vice-Rector of RUPP.

Scholarship awardees also got the chance to share their gratitude for the opportunities provided by the CBC and universities.

Data Science and Engineering student at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, Ket David, said studying Data Science is very important for the future of Cambodia.

“Data science spans multiple fields and can solve multiple problems. Studying at the university was a great experience, we learned more than we could ask for,” Sothearoath said.

This wouldn’t have been possible without the CBC scholarship. With their support, we have gone further than we thought possible,” he added.

Improving portfolio quality and preventing over-indebtedness.

Speaking on the formation of the CBC, Phay Sophal, Head of Customer Service, said that the private company has been operational since 2012, after being licensed by the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC).

“In 2006, the credit sharing system was launched in Cambodia. Then, in 2009 discussions were started about creating a private credit bureau. By 2011 there was the development of the negative and positive bureau and a prakas was passed on credit reporting. This all paved the way for NBC to officially license CBC to operate credit information in 2012, which marked the start of our operations,” Sophal said.

“When we first begin, we started with 51 members, now we have over 170 and counting, 46% of which are members from the microfinance sector,” he added.

Sophal explained that today, CBC products include customer credit reports, commercial credit reports, K-score, portfolio monitoring, data analytics reports, portfolio reviews, and customized solutions. Users include regulated financial institutions, consumers, investors, and regulators. 

To read more about CBC’s alternative data solutions click here.

CEO of CBC Mr. Oeur Sothearoath.

Speaking on the benefits to the financial sector, Sophal said that credit reporting can help in the healthy growth of the financial sector by improving portfolio quality and preventing over-indebtedness.

“Moreover, CBC enables coordination and data sharing among microfinance and banking sectors for a more streamlined financial sector,” Sophal said.

“Benefits include broader and fairer access to credit, improved loan performance, improved profitability, heightened stability in the financial sector, increase competition, and responsible financial practices in the Kingdom,” he added.

Sophal commented this means a wider impact of better access to credit and more stability in the financial sector, which benefits the macroeconomy.

Critical and comprehensive information for lenders

The Credit Reporting System directly enables financial inclusion – something important to the Kingdom – by providing critical and comprehensive information for lenders to quickly access the credit worthiness of potential borrowers, thereby, reducing transaction costs of lending.

It also enables borrowers to maintain good financial health and ensure that they can have convenient and sustainable access to credit.

The CBC has also made a $1 million financial commitment to strengthen financial inclusion in Cambodia over the next five years. Sophal said that the sum aims to achieve three key issues within the national financial inclusion strategy (2019-2025). 

“Firstly, through supporting responsible lending. Secondly to promote women’s access to finance in Cambodia and finally to promote awareness and knowledge among customers on responsible borrowing and improve the adoption of the latest digital tools so there is access to a wider range of financial services for all,” Sophal said.

“The contribution of credit reporting to GDP growth from 2016-2018 was 1.2%, so credit reporting has a real positive impact on the national economy,” he added.

The closing remarks were delivered by Prashanta Pradhan, Head of Research and Development at the CBC. 

On behalf of CBC, I’d like to thank you for joining today and I would like to congratulate the scholars. This is a visionary program made possible through the collaboration between universities and industries. By signing up for this program, you will be helping benefit the economy in the future,” Prashanta said.

The collaboration brought local companies to the forefront and allowed them to take center stage. 

“I hope to see more examples and collaborations like this. It also means we can support future skill development in Cambodia, especially during a time when there was a lot of uncertainty,” Prashanta said.

“As the Kingdom moves to the 4th industrial revolution, it’s very important that collaborations like this exist. I hope this sets an example for other industry players, businesses, and also other educational institutions in the Kingdom,” Prashanta added.

To read more about CBC’s innovative Credit Risk Heat Map click here.

Head of Research and Development at CBC Prashanta Pradhan.

The award ceremony was certainly a unique collaboration, combining the efforts of a Cambodian company with leading national universities to prepare industry-ready graduates in the fields of Data Science and Engineering, Economics, and Management with skills focused on banking and financial technology jobs. 

A statement from CBC said,” this Scholarship Scheme includes full tuition to support talented young students enrolled in bachelor’s degree in RUPP and RULE, internships and professional immersions, and a range of corporate training and career development activities.”

CBC Scholars enrolled at RUPP graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Data Science and Engineering which is the first Data Science and Engineering program in the country developed in collaboration with Osaka Metropolitan University Japan and launched earlier in 2022. 

“Scholars enrolled at RULE will earn an international Bachelor’s degree from RULE and Lumiere Lyon 2, France,” it added.

The initial commitment of financial support from CBC to students is valued at more than $100,000. 

In the future, the CBC – in collaboration with universities – is also exploring opportunities for offering industry-relevant curricula in academic programs and conducting joint research initiatives relevant to the Cambodian market.

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