Slow entry of foreign banks hinders small and medium enterprises

As foreign banks are not yet permitted to offer full services in Myanmar and confined to run representative offices, local small and medium enterprises are facing hardship.

Some of the SME businessmen said that they have to brace for more expenses and time in running their businesses, including money transactions with foreign countries, and that they have difficulty to obtain loans.

“Local banks are in most of the times not benefiting to the people. People will rely on any bank that gives convenient service. Now that it is not easy to take out loans for business extension and its interest is big, it is like pulling down fresh entrepreneurs who want to risk starting business. Moreover, if we pay for advertising our businesses on social networks like Facebook, we have to subscribe abroad. It takes longer to complete business transaction,” said a young man who started his own business.

Currently, some of large international banks have opened their representative offices in Myanmar.

“It is difficult to say when international banks are given full right to operate because it is on the part of government’ decision. But it is important for the relevant persons to get together and discuss for complying with the case,” said Mr. TatsuroNonaka, chief representative for Yangon office of Mizuho bank.

He added that they are concerned for the likely delay of Japan’s inflow of investments into Myanmar because they have not received permission for banking.

“As Japanese businessmen might need to take out foreign-cash loans, we are worried that the delay in our banking will hinder Japan investment,” Mr. Nonaka said.

“Foreign banks will not directly compete with local banks; instead they will help make Myanmar banking system better. Not giving working permit to foreign banks will make things worse instead of better,” said an officer of a bank which came to open an office.

Source: ELEVEN Myanmar

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