After securing licence, Bangkok Bank to upgrade skills of Myanmar employees

After receiving preliminary approval for a banking licence in Myanmar, Bangkok Bank’s next step is to recruit 20-30 mainly local employees under its policy to strengthen the banking skills of local staff.

Chaiyarit Anuchitworawong, executive vice president, said yesterday that the bank has 12 months to prepare before receiving a full commercial banking licence, but it hopes to open the branch in the first half of next year.

BBL has moved its representative office from the Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon to a new location on Kaba Aye Pagoda Road.

In its proposal submitted to the authorities in Myanmar, the bank offered to collaborate with local universities to develop banking programmes in order to help produce human resources for the banking industry.

People are important in running a bank. Even though the bank will have its own Thai staff, it still requires locals as its mainstream workforce.

Myanmar is a country with huge potential and its people are very active in dealing with the influx of investment, he said.

The bank will work with the Bankers’ Association in Myanmar in handling transactions that the country might not be very familiar with, such as foreign exchange and trade finance, he added.

Under the licence, BBL can provide financing in three currencies – the US dollar, euro and kyat – to only foreign corporations in terms of direct investment, joint ventures and local banks.

Local banks also require capital as they have to mobilise sufficient funds to support local customers, who cannot be serviced by foreign banks due to regulations.

“We can receive deposits from local banks and foreign corporations, but in terms of deposits in kyat, we cannot pay interest as the account that has been allowed to be opened is a current account,” he said.

The nine foreign banks with preliminary licences can set interest rates for deposits and loans in the US dollar and euro, based on the competition in the banking industry in Myanmar.

Interest rates for kyat deposits and loans offered by local banks are 8 per cent and 13 per cent.

Tossatis Rodprasert, chief representative of Bangkok Bank in Yangon, said that besides industries involved in infrastructure, garments and seafood are potential industries for Thai corporations to set up manufacturing operations in Myanmar after Myanmar received privileges under the generalised system of preferences six months ago.

The bank will help Thai investors find sites in urban areas near Yangon to build plants as the cost of land in Yangon is too high.

Source: The Nation

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