Cambodia: Acleda Bank developing ‘big data’ of consumer activities

The first publicly listed commercial bank Acleda Bank Plc has initiated processing of developing big storage of data of both financial and economic information of financial service consumers to take advantage in the banking and financial industries in the country, revealed a top official of the bank.

A team of the bank’s engineers have been working on the development of the big storage of data which is technically called ‘big data’ or ‘data lake house’ by combining data warehouse—orderly data containing accounting information of customers, and data lake—disorderly data that refers to the information of the economic activities of financial service or product consumers such as spending on eating noodles in a restaurant.

In Channy, President and Group Managing Director of Acleda Bank Plc, told Khmer Times on the sidelines of the ASEAN Leadership and Partnership Forum held in Phnom Penh on Monday that the development of the data lake house will require formal consent from financial service or product consumers who are in the formal sector, while a data warehouse is already available at banking and financial institutions.

“Now, we are developing the data lake by collecting and entering data collected from newspapers, magazines, social media and so on to combine with the orderly data to ultimately create the data lake house called ‘big data’ that contains all information. For example, we want to find where customers go on holidays, where they eat noodles on weekends, how much they spend, how they travel, how many times they fly to a country, which transportation company they use for their travelling, etc.,” Channy said.

Channy went on to add that each specific financial service or product consumer will have a set of accounting data and information on their economic activities in the data lake house that is under development which could take about five years from 2022. However, the bank’s engineering team is committed to completing as soon as possible to take advantage of the competition in the banking and financial markets.

Channy said the data lake house is expected to attract participation in cooperation among banking and financial institutions as well as public institutions in Cambodia to share or link the prospective data with their systems through a similar way of sharing data in the system of paying taxes to the General Department of Taxation and Phnom Penh Capital Hall for digital payment app for collecting trash collection fee.

“The bank always stays ahead since the initial phase of the development of such digital systems … So, we will be the first to be ready and launch the system. After that, any institutions who want to use it too can link the data to them,” Channy said. He, however, declined to disclose the cost involved in the new digital development for the banking and financial industries as the new project and its costs need to be announced on Cambodia’s stock exchange first.

Besides, Acleda Bank has been working with a team of scientists who have been conducting data analysis and coding such as grouping and classifying data. “It does not mean that we will be able to use the system after the data development is fully completed. We will be able to use it as per steps of the development at a level or size of available data for use and linking,” he clarified, adding that the prospective data lake house will become an enabler for further development of the digital economy in Cambodia.

Neav Sokun, Chief Operating Officer at Small and Medium Enterprise Bank of Cambodia Plc, told Khmer Times yesterday that even though he is not aware of the new project, he believes that the system will help enhance and expedite the approval processes of banking and financial institutions by faster assessment of the repayment abilities of their customers in addition to the information regarding inflow and outflow of cash of customers.

“Currently, the economy has been being transformed from cash economy to cashless economy and so all financial transactions will be made through banking system that records how much a customer
pays an electricity or a restaurant bill,” Sokun said, adding that sharing information of customers must be done with consent from the concerned customers or required by laws.