Last month I had the chance to shadow a couple HKL credit officers at the Kampong Cham branch, an hour and a half northeast of Phnom Penh. Since my responsibilities here in Cambodia are mainly training and implementing the Kiva process rather than write journals, I was excited to get out and meet the people who make microfinance happen. I have nothing but the highest respect for Mr. Virak and Mr. Vo, who ride around the hot, dusty countryside four days a week helping prospective clients process loan applications. And they manage to look sharp while they’re at it, which is a challenge with a heat index around 105. Unfortunately, I lost my little notebook along the way, so all I have are the photos I took.


The first client we met. At first I thought all this was trash, but it turns out she operates a recycling business.


This man repairs and sells used motorbikes.

first loan

The proud recipient of an HKL loan for farming tools. Mr. Virak on the right.

the documents

Pulling the correct file…


Checking the name…


…and climbing the stairs.


Discussing the provisions of their loan. This process can take anywhere from 10 minutes to a half hour.


Mr. Virak tells a joke in Khmer.


Loan documents are always signed using the client’s right thumbprint.


Credit officers like Mr. Virak use motos to visit clients because roads in rural Cambodia are usually little more than rutted dirt paths.


A barang with a camera is a strange sight in these villages.


Sometimes the loan documentation process can be a little tedious, especially in the stifling heat.


This entrepreneur was proud of the bicycle she purchased with her HKL loan. She uses it to collect cans, bottles and other recyclables around her village. She said the investment has noticeably increased her income.


She was in such a friendly mood that she wanted me to take a photo of her whole family.


The last clients of the long day.

Many thanks to Mr. Virak and Mr. Vo for showing me what they do.


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