Interview with BRED Bank CEO Nicolas Hollanders
This week, we sat down with Nicolas Hollanders, the recently appointed CEO of BRED Bank Cambodia, which just celebrated its fifth anniversary in the Kingdom.
BRED Bank is a platinum partner of EuroCham and shares many goals with the chamber, including increasing access to finance for SMEs and individuals by providing fair loans and digital solutions for everyone.
EuroCham: You recently took over as CEO at Bred Bank Cambodia after over 20 years of working in banking in France and Guadalupe. What led you to take the position and how are you finding life in the Kingdom of Wonder?
Nicolas Hollanders: I already had some idea of what to expect having already served as Chairman of the Board of BRED BANK Cambodia. I then enjoyed a short visit in June to meet the team before arriving properly in September. I think it’s important to travel the world and see new cultures and I’m really excited to get to know Cambodia, its people and its traditions in the years ahead. I’ve certainly got off to a great start and I’ve been made very welcome by my colleagues and everyone else I’ve met since my arrival.
EuroCham: BRED Bank celebrated its fifth anniversary in Cambodia this year after seeing impressive growth over that time span. How does BRED Bank set itself apart in a crowded banking sector?
Nicolas Hollanders: We are the only European bank active in Cambodia and we always make sure we offer the highest international standards to all our customers – business and personal. Our model is built on a high degree of personal service, tailoring our products and services to meet each individual’s needs and building strong personal relationships through our outstanding branch network. At the same time, we also offer the best in digital banking which gives our customers the convenience to conduct their daily business quickly and efficiently. It’s a strong model which has been well received in the Kingdom and it works very well for us.
EuroCham: What are your plans for BRED Bank as we close out 2022 and look forward to a new year?
Nicolas Hollanders: While we’ve got a busy year ahead, we’ve still got a lot happening before we say farewell to 2022. We have signed up for the National Bank’s Bakong payment system so customers will be able to pay using KHQR. We’re continuing to expand the services we offer businesses and we’re about to launch BRED Business Connect, a really powerful new business banking platform that has exceptional features and functionality for corporations and SMEs. While we’ve recently opened new branches at Chroy Changvar and Kampong Cham, we’ll be opening Kampong Cham Krom soon and it will be our 15th branch with more to follow throughout 2023! So, yes, there’s a lot on the go!
EuroCham: How do you see the sector evolving over the next few years?
Nicolas Hollanders: The banking sector in Cambodia is very competitive. There are 60 banks trading here at the moment as well as the MFIs, which have their own unique place in the market. Of course, competition can be a great source of improvement and encourages innovation. We’re very comfortable with the level of competition and we’ve set ambitious targets for our bank.
The challenge we all face in the year ahead is the uncertainty in the evolution of exchange and interest rates for the dollar. In the last few months of this year, dollar rates rose sharply. That resulted in an adjustment to deposit interest rates which is good news for savers but not so good for people and businesses who need to attract finance.
As we look ahead, it’s difficult to know if rates will continue to increase. These are global issues and most economies are experiencing inflation so it is not yet clear when we will see rate stability. Regardless, I believe we have strong opportunities in the local market and we have the product range and depth of services to ensure we continue to be well-positioned in the market.