Banking On Poor Borrowers...While Many Banks Face The Abyss

As owner of an incense stick factory with three workers and profits of $8 a day, Van Saroeun is a thriving entrepreneur. Never mind that in monsoon season, from May to October, her clients have to wade through brown water and navigate a slippery log to get to her shop. While others in her dilapidated Phnom Penh neighborhood scrape by on $1 or $2 a day, her business has tripled in five years. "All my children go to school," says the proud 48-year-old mother of six, seated on the second floor of her stilt house while three workers downstairs roll wood slivers in scented shavings and bundle the sticks into brightly colored packages.

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