Amret Microfinance Institution - Amret Microfinance

Amret Microfinance


Microfinance in Cambodia

As from 1979, after ending Cambodian civil ruinous war under dictatorial regime of Pol Pot for three years and eight months, Cambodia fell to zero point, nothing left such as infrastructure, economy, telecommunications, banking, and other fields; and especially, human resources were almost destroyed.

Since the liberation day in 1979, the country has just started growing up step by step and industries including banking and microfinance, etc., has started working again continuously. Particularly, microfinance started opening in1990 in the form of NGOs. GRET was one of those, and it started a trial rural credit project in three provinces (Kandal, Kampong Speu, and Prey Veng) in the Kingdom of Cambodia. The creation of microfinance in that decade was to fill the lack of bank especially commercial bank which did not provide credit service to remote rural area. In that decade, the bank had attracted clients with only 20%[1] of all people in the whole country, those clients were wealthy and fairly rich families, and most of them lived in public gathering places and cities. Therefore, other people did not have chance to receive credit loan from the bank with reasonable low interest.

[1]sector highlight: LEOPARD CAMBODIA, Microfinance Investment Opportunities in an under-banked Cambodia, Matthew Magenheim.

Another way to facilitate people to get loan with reasonable lower interest than money lenders in their villages and districts is the borrowing of credit from microfinance institutions.


The question is: if people wanted to borrow money to run a business or expand a business or do something else, from who did they borrowed before 1979 up to 1990?

The answer is: the only one way is to borrow money from money lenders in their villages and districts; even though the interest rate taken by those money lenders were high up to 10% or 20% a month. Moreover, some borrowers said that 10% or 20% interest rate was not high for them. Why? The reason was that no one else lent them for comparison apart from money lenders in their villages and districts.


These factors enable microfinance institutions to start its role again as an operator to fill these lacks in order that people mostly women have chance to borrow money to open a business or expand an existing business better and better by borrowing credit from microfinance institutions. These activities show clearly that microfinance institutions really play an important, active, and high effective role in recovering and developing social economy of Cambodia more and more improved in accordance with the vision of the Royal Government which opens the free market economic policy widely in the country, region, and world. Additionally, the Royal Government headed by Samdech Aka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen has considered and declared that year 2006 was the year of microfinance in Cambodia.[2]

[2]sector highlight: Cambodia Microfinance: Development and Challenges by Mr. Kim Vada, Deputy Director General for National Bank of Cambodia, on March 15-17, 2010 at Dhaka, Bangladesh)

License issued by National Bank of Cambodia to bank and microfinance institutions.

During 1998 – 2000, microfinance industry in Cambodia has grown increasingly, become a potential industry, and developed stronger than other countries in Southeast Asia. Along with the strong development, National Bank of Cambodia, the administrator of banks and microfinance institutions, has issued a Law on banking and microfinance


This law was approved by the National Assembly on October 19, 1999 at the 3rd plenary session of the 2nd legislature. On November 03, 1999, with the details[3]of the law on banking and finance institutions, Constitutional Council declared that this law obeys the constitution. Article 14 in chapter 4 of this law states clearly how to issue license to bank and financial institutions (see the law of National Bank of Cambodia for the details).

[3]sector, Law on Banking and Financial Institutions


At present (June 2012) there are 32 microfinance institutions that have received legal MFI licenses from National Bank of Cambodia for doing their business. And also up to this June 2012, there are only 07 microfinance institutions among 32 microfinance institutions that have received license for taking deposits from the public.

What is Amret

logo.pngAmret is a leading micro-finance institution in Cambodia with strong support and belief from national and international institutions and its clients. In responding to the demand of various micro-finance services, Amret has developed many kinds of financial products and service, especially small scale loan for people in the rural areas and medium scale loan for small and medium enterprises. Moreover, Amret has developed other product and services such as: Deposit products and Inter Branch Money Transfer (Local Money Transfer) product in order to meet the need of people in cities and rural areas as well as provinces and capital of Cambodia.

Amret's History

GRET is a French organization which entered Cambodia in 1988, and this organization is not only located in Cambodia but it is located in many other countries. Since 1988 GRET has executed many projects in Cambodia such as: "Well and Water Pump", Micro Insurance (SKY), Agronomy, CEDAC and Palm Sugar. And in 1991 GRET began a new project which was loan providing to people in some areas and provinces in Cambodia. Among those projects, some are still continued up to now and some others were finished.


The projects that are still continued until today because, in GRET's vision, those projects is sustainable so those projects have to change to companies or treated with a stable and sustainable method to serve and satisfy people's needs. Up to now, the sustainable projects that have changed to companies are: Credit Project (becomes Amret "a Compay"), CEDAC project, Micro Insurance (SKY) project. GRET comes from the words Groupe de Recherche et d'échanges Technologiques which means" Research and Technological Exchanges Group"

An office of Amret when it was a project of GRET (Prey Veng Province)

1. The area where Amret (when it was GRET) carried out its operation at the beginning in 1991[1]

[1]Source: Page 42: Micorfinancial advanture of Amret in Cambodia


In 1991, there were only three provinces that Amret provided its Credit at the beginning. Among those provinces, two are Kandal and Kampong Speu which are located to the West of Mekong River and the West of Phnom Penh City. Another one is Prey Veng which is located to the East of Mekong River. Amret opened only 5 experimental Village Association (VA) for people in those provinces. Two Village Associations were in Kandal province: one is Ampil Roung Village Association located in Ponhearleu district (with 2 dependent villages: Tropeang Puntrea village and Kbal Ou village) another one is Pheary Village Association which was located in Kandal Stoeung district (with 2 other dependent villages: Ankgrong village and Chrolang village). In Kampong Speu, there was only one Village Association which was Kroheng Village Association in Samraong Tong district. In addition, Amret opened two other Village Associations in Prey Veng: Chok Village Association and Thnaot Village Association (with 3 other dependent villages: Angkanh village, Khleang village, and Tropeang Sala village). Among those Village Associations, Ampil Roung Village Association in Ponhearleu district, Kandal province was the first Village Association to be opened.

Amret's operation areas when it was a project of GRET (1991)

2. Credit and loan size that Amret (when it was GRET) provided to a client in each group in 1991


In cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, GRET provided loan to people after a workshop in May, 1991. There were only 50 participants participating in the workshop. The workshop made decision and commitment to focus on only one target which was the long time and sustainable credit for providing to people. This credit provision of GRET had to be able to facilitate and improve the living standard of borrowers. GRET followed the procedure of credit provision of Grameen Bank for applying to its procedure of credit provision by creating solidary group to guarantee each other for getting loan[2].

[2]sector highlight:Micorfinancial advanture of Amret in Cambodia Page 38


The maximum loan size for each member of the group was only 30.000 riels, which was equal to 30USD (according to the exchange rate at that time). Only one person in a family could get loan, and the number of members to get loan were limited to 5 members only in each group (no more and no less than 5 people). Those members guaranteed each other to get loan from Amret, and loan period was only 10 months for each cycle[3].
[3]sector highlight: Micorfinancial advanture of Amret in Cambodia Page 42



3. The former name of Amret


Amret was formerly known as Ennetean Moulethan Tchonnebath (in English, it means "Local Rural Credit") or briefly called EMT (/ə/-/ɛm/-/te/). Because the full name was long so short name (EMT) was always used, and the full name (Ennetean Moulethan Tchonnebath) had rarely been used.

EMT was not usually pronounced in the right way because (1) – at present, most of people in Cambodia like to use English, they usually pronounce /i:/-/ɛm/-/ti:/ instead of /ə/-/ɛm/-/te/. Moreover, most of clients in rural areas always called the name shortly like: /ɛm/-/te/, /ə/-/te/ or /te/-/te/ so Amret's Management Staff had decided to change this name. Through thorough study and correct consideration, with the help from a doctor of Khmer literature to give advice and explain the meaning of Amret, and through the study about the meaning and pronunciation of Amret from its clients especially some ethnics living in Cambodia such as Cham, Vietnamese, and some others, it has shown that Amret has good meaning and does not have bad meaning in the languages of these ethnics; additionally, the reverse pronunciation (Et-ram) of Amret is not a bad word.

The Management Staff decided to change the name from EMT to Amret on June 14, 2004. The purpose of this change is to make clients and people
call the name of the institution easily and correctly. Another purpose is to name the institution in Khmer language that has good meaning and shows the solidarity.

Amret's Name

Amret uses two brands Amret-Logo-01.pngandAmret-Logo-02.pngin the communication with two kinds of target audiences (1)- Clients and (2)- Donors, Creditors, Investors, Shareholders, Board of Directors, Armret's employees, NGOs and Authorities. These two brands have totally the same meanings and identity:

"Amret" in Khmer means "Long life, Immortality or magical water", and traditionally means "Improvement and Prosperity"Please see the meaning and slogan of Amret as follows:

"With you, for you"
– shows the value and close communication between "Amret" and Clients by providing them permanently with our services in order to improve their livings. Smile shape smile-logo.pngjoining from the end of letter "T" of the word "Amret" - shows the communication between the success or happiness of the clients and the financial services of Microfinance Institution "Amret".

The Meanings of colors of the brand:
means freshness of the clients when using the services of "Amret"

Gold: means brilliant achievements of the clients from their investments.




Amret's Evolution

Amret is the most mature and strongest institution among microfinance institutions in Cambodia. Some major achievements of Amret are:

Office buildings of Amret (1991-2012)

We are very proud of the development of our office buildings, those are: an office building when it was GRET (1991), an office building of Ennetean Moulethan Tchonnebath (EMT) (2000), and over 80 standard and non-standard office buildings of Amret in its operation areas.

This development has been achieved because of the serious effort of all levels of our staff to reach the target in the coming day as stated in our Vision and Mission. Most of standard office buildings of Amret have been opened and put in to operation already which includes Provincial offices and Branches.

Amret arrow.png Amret arrow.png Amret
Office of GRET (1991)   Office of EMT   Non-standard Office of Amret


Amret Amret Amret Amret
Standard Office of Amret (Under Construction) The Opening of Standard Office of Amret (Takeo branch)


MFI license of Amret obtaining from the National Bank of Cambodia

Amret is the first microfinance institution that received a legal and formal MFI license from the National Bank of Cambodia in 2001. Presently, Amret takes an inclusive approach to provide comprehensive financial solutions that are specifically tailored to the needs of people in rural areas, provinces, cities, and capital. Amret is serving more and more people in more places every year and helping them to secure better futures for themselves and their families.

CEO of Amret received MFI license

MDI (Microfinance Deposit Taking Institution) License of Amret obtaining from the National Bank of Cambodia

Amret received the deposit taking license form the National Bank of Cambodia in 2009.

CEO of Amret received deposit taking license

Number of employees (May 1991 - May 2012)

Up to May 2012, Amret has 2,134[1]employees (including Management Staff, Operating Staff, and Supporting Staff). At the beginning when Amret started opening the first operation in 1991, it had only 7 staff in which 5 staff is Khmer. Two worked at the East of Mekong River: Mr. Thong Sokha (credit agent), Mr. Thaong Sovannareth (credit agent), three worked in Kandal and Kampong Speu provinces: Mrs. Sou Chantha (credit agent), Mr. Mick Kau (French translator), and Mr. Has Hou (driver). Two other are French: Mr. Patrice Lamballe (project manager in Prey Veng), and Mr. Pierre DAUBERT (manager in Kandal and Kampong Speu provinces).

[1]sector highlight: Amret's outreach indicators just May 2012

On the other hand, at present Amret has various positions of staff with professional skill and experience to work for Amret. Furthermore, Amret has a clear organization structure to ensure that the work is done smoothly.



Amret Amret arrow.png Amret Amret Amret


Staff of Amret 1991  

Staff of Amret (2012)


Operating areas (May 1991 - May 2012)

Up to May 2012, Amret has operated in 17 provinces and capital (16 provinces and 1 capital) covering 166 districts/cities, 999 communes/quarters and 5,906 villages[1]. Even though in May 1991, Amret had operated only in 3 provinces, 4 districts, and 11 villages.

[1] sector highlight: Amret's outreach indicators just May 2012


Operation Areas of Amret - June 1991 Operation Areas of Amret - May 2012


Products and services of Amret (May 1991 - May 2012)

Up to May 2012, Amret has been providing 3 financial products & service to its clients:

(1)-Credit Products (2)-Deposit or Saving Products and (3)- Inter-Branch Money Transfer (local money transfer) Product. Looking back in May 1991 when Amret had just began, it provided only one product (credit product) to its clients, and that credit product was only in the form of Solidarity Credit.