October 6, 2021
OP Finnfund Global Impact Fund I invests in Sathapana Bank, Cambodia, to accelerate SME growth and women empowerment
OP Finnfund Global Impact Fund I, the first global emerging markets impact fund in Finland, invests USD 10 million in Sathapana Bank, one of Cambodia’s largest banks, aiming to accelerate the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and women empowerment. The funding provided by OP Finnfund Global Impact Fund I will allow Sathapana to broaden its client base and grant more loans to its existing clients, including the women segment.
Born in 2016 with the merger of two institutions, Maruhan Japan Bank and Sathapana Limited, Sathapana Bank has become one of the leading commercial banks in the country. With its extensive branch network, solid business partnerships, and digital capabilities, Sathapana offers its customers a wide array of financial services and in particular, strongly supports the agricultural sector and women entrepreneurship. Almost a fifth of its customers are farmers, and nearly half of its loan clients are women. Finnfund has been financing Sathapana since 2015.
OP Finnfund Global Impact Fund I seeks positive impacts on, for instance, climate change, food security, gender equality, and the availability of financing by focusing on three main industries in developing countries: renewable energy, financial institutions, and sustainable agriculture. The total fund size stands at EUR 135 million.
Empowering women as clients, employees, and leaders
One of the key aims for this investment is to enhance women’s empowerment and the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality (SDG5). Cambodia is categorised as Least Developed Country (LDC) by OECD. Women have traditionally had a strong say in household economy in Cambodia and they have been utilizing microfinancing services but their access to formal banking services, especially loans, has been lower compared to men.
As almost half of Sathapana’s loan clients are women, the investment is eligible for the 2X Challenge gender investing initiative. In addition, 38% of its more than 4,000 employees are women. In recent years, the number of its female leaders has increased in all levels of the company.
2X Challenge is an international gender lens investing initiative that aims to collectively mobilize USD 15 billion in commitments that provide women in developing country markets with improved access to leadership opportunities, quality employment, finance, enterprise support, and products and services that enhance economic participation and access. Finnfund joined 2X Challenge in 2019.
“At Sathapana, we not only focus on delivering financial services to our customers, but we also want to deliver non-financial services that provide additional value to SMEs and women entrepreneurs. As we know, the vast majority of Cambodian businesses are SMEs, and they are very vital to the Kingdom’s economy. 26% of SMEs are owned by women in the country, while 62% of micro-enterprises are women-owned, so we can’t emphasize enough their importance to the Cambodian economy,” said Mr. Fung Kai Jin, Chief Executive Officer of Sathapana Bank.
“We also ensure gender equality in our recruitment, aside from enabling and sustaining these entrepreneurs with our suites of products and services such as Business Installment Loan, Flexi-Lending, contactless payment, and smart savings,” added Mr. Fung.
“Fostering the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises as well as women’s empowerment are both at the core of the investment strategy of OP Finnfund Global Impact Fund I. We are glad to join forces and support Sathapana’s work both in developing their operations and gender equality within the bank as well as contributing to Cambodian financial sector and the society as a whole,” said Mr. Tuomas Virtala, Head of Asset Management at OP Corporate Bank.
“During the six years of our partnership, we have seen Sathapana developing from a microfinance institution to a commercial bank. Simultaneously, their work towards gender equality and women empowerment has made Sathapana Bank qualified under the 2x Challenge initiative. The ambition to develop their operations and become the leading player in the Cambodian payment ecosystem makes Sathapana an interesting partner for Finnfund also in the future, and we are also glad to have OP Finnfund Global Impact Fund I onboard as a new investor in the company,” said Mr. Antti Urvas, Associate Director, Head of Financial Institutions portfolio at Finnfund.
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OP Finnfund Global Impact Fund I
OP Finnfund Global Impact Fund I is the first global emerging markets impact fund in Finland. The fund targets significant positive impacts in addition to financial return. The fund raised a total of EUR 135 million. OP Asset Management Ltd, part of OP Financial Group, one of the largest banking groups in Finland, acts as a portfolio manager for the fund and OP Fund Management Company Ltd acts as an alternative investment fund manager of the fund. Finnfund, a Finnish development financier and impact investor acts as an advisor and anchor investor in the fund.
Sathapana Bank is one of the leading commercial banks in Cambodia, with total assets of over US$ 2.1 billion and more than 4,000 employees. We have an extensive branch network nationwide with more than 170 branches, 3 Sathapana Premier banking halls, and more than 230 ATMs with cash recycling capability. We provide full banking services such as loans, deposits, iBanking, Mobile Banking, debit & credit cards, domestic and foreign remittances, Western Union, trade finance, and other services. We are also offering tax collection services, public services payment with the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation, and various cooperation with mobile payment providers such as WING, Pi Pay, True Money, Ly Hour Veluy, eMoney, and Bakong to give further convenience to our customers. Our partnership with Credit Bureau (Cambodia) Co., Ltd. enables our customers to conveniently perform financial health check through Sathapana Mobile.