Mizuho to open second office, at Thilawa SEZ

Japanese bank Mizuho will become the first foreign lender to open a second office in Myanmar, after opening its Yangon branch earlier this year.

The bank has been granted approval to open a front office in Thilawa special economic zone, a spokesperson confirmed.

Mizuho aims to open the office within the year, said a company announcement yesterday.

“This is the second Mizuho Bank office in Myanmar and the first office opened by a foreign bank in the Thilawa SEZ,” it said.

Nine foreign banks with licences to operate in Myanmar are not permitted to open more than one branch office.

However, this new office is not a branch, said spokesperson Mie Mie Nay Min Win to The Myanmar Times.

“It’s a desk for our SEZ customers,” she said, adding that Mizuho had not applied for permission to open a desk anywhere else in the country.

“We wanted an office in Thilawa SEZ, which is a government-to-government project, to help promote Japanese business in Myanmar.”

Thilawa is Myanmar’s first special economic zone, a Japan-Myanmar joint venture 23 kilometres (14 miles) south of Yangon.

The first phase of the project launched in September – the 400- hectare Zone A is just a fraction of the size of the entire 2400-hectare zone.

More than 40 companies have set up shop at Thilawa so far, across a number of industries, and Mizuho predicts the number will continue to rise.

In a statement yesterday the bank said its new office will help it contribute “to the further development of Myanmar’s industry and money market as well as the training of human resources”.

Nine foreign banks have opened a branch office in Yangon this year: Thailand’s Bangkok Bank, Japan’s Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation; the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC); Malaysia’s Maybank; and two Singaporean lenders, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) and United Overseas Bank (UOB).

This marks the first time that foreign banks have operated in Myanmar for more than 50 years.

Operations are limited to lending to foreign businesses and local-foreign joint ventures, and to local banks. Foreign branches can also join forces with local lenders to offer additional services.

Source: Myanmar Times

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