Global Treasure Bank plunged into more than a new name in 2013, when it shed its former identity as the state-owned Myanmar Livestock and Fisheries Development Bank and began building itself as a private-sector bank.
Still, re-orienting from being a state-run bank under the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development to one that is privately owned is a constant challenge.
It inherited a wide and growing network of branches, but has been pushing to change into electronic banking, said U Zaw Win, deputy managing director. It claims 106 branches at present, aiming to reach 150 during the 2015-16 fiscal year.
The bank’s head office is a roughly renovated two-storey building, on the corner of Shwe Bon Thar Street and Merchant Road in Pabedan township – the city’s former financial hub, where many banks still have a strong presence. The building itself dates from the Socialist era. It is the former home of the Myanmar Investment Commission, and is rented from the Livestock Ministry.
The Yangon office is larger than most of Global Treasure’s branches, which are often relatively small and initially designed around remittances. Its branches, in Yangon and outside the city are often quite modest, with about 12 staff in a smaller room on the ground floor of an apartment or building.
“As our largest income comes from remittances, we are extending our branch network as we can. But from now on, we will emphasize the quality of the bank, which means upgrading IT systems, staff numbers and services,” said U Zaw Win.
Global Treasure is looking to introduce card payments, electronic banking, as well as a core banking system, but the process has not been simple.
One challenge for the bank’s digital plans is attracting the state to push this expansion.
“We recruit IT experts and others to implement this vision, as our staff moved to large banks previously,” he said.
The bank’s legacy is tight integration with fisheries businesspeople, a situation stemming from its days under the Ministry. U Zaw Win says about 30 percent of the bank’s loans go to the fishery sector.
More recently, the bank is attempting to broaden its customer appeal.
“When the bank became public, many of the shareholders come from various sectors. But we have strong connections with fisheries businesspeople,” he said.
State-owned Rural Development Bank has become the main government-owned institution for fisheries businesses, but many of them are keen on private-sector banking as well.
Global Treasure is still moving beyond its legacy as a public bank.
“All our activities are now presented to our shareholder. It’s different from when we worked for the ministry, or when we were a semi-government bank,” said U Zaw Win.
Global Treasure Bank is also preparing for the new rules that will come into force if the draft Financial Institutions Law is passed. It had about K54 billion (US$48 million) in paid-up capital, as of March 2015, and is working to increase the amount to K70 billion. It also has 19 directors at present, which will have to be winnowed down to five to eight directors, according to the draft law.
The bank is also looking to address some of its internal practices, notably its non-performing loan rate, which was 7.26pc last fiscal year. They are working with their clients to reduce this, said U Zaw Win.
Global Treasure was also the fifth-highest income tax payer in 2013-14.
Among banks it was lower only than KBZ, and higher than some of the other institutions including CB and Apex banks.
Source: Myanmar Times