The investors, who had a technology background, focused on developing a comprehensive suite of digital services while maintaining a significant physical footprint. ABA had about 70 retail branches as of 2018. Its digital services include-cash for card-free ATM withdrawals; ABA Pay for QR codes and cashless payments; and PayWay, an e-commerce payments service.
At the same time, ABA Bank has largely avoided the consumer lending market, where competition is fierce. Instead, it has set its sights on providing microloans to SMEs. According to AsiaMoney, SMEs account for 90% of ABA's loan portfolio, in industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, trade and services.
In October 2019, National Bank of Canada increased its stake in ABA Bank to 100% with an investment of almost US$63 million. National Bank first invested in ABA Bank in 2014 with a 10% stake, which grew to 42% in 2015 and 90% in 2016. The Canadian bank has invested a total of US$320 million in ABA Bank, according to an October 2019 press release.
Both ABA Bank and National Bank have benefited considerably from their partnership, the press release said. Since 2014, the profitability of National Bank's investment in ABA Bank has risen more than tenfold and return on equity is roughly 30%. Meanwhile, ABA Bank's market share has doubled and its clients have increased from 60,000 to 600,000.
Separately, in early January Cambodia's Acleda Bank and mobile-banking services provider Wing signed a partnership that connects many of their services. Under the agreement, Acleda Bank’s clients will be able to transfer money instantly from a Wing to an Acleda Bank account. Customers can also use Acleda's local remittance services to transfer money to their bank account and then withdraw it from any Wing agent nationwide, the two companies said in a press release.