KBZ plans Singapore, Thailand representative offices

KBZ, the largest domestic private bank, plans to open representative offices in Thailand and Singapore by October, according to KBZ senior managing director U Than Cho.

The bank is holding discussions with authorities and working on submitting the necessary documents, he said.

“We are urgently trying to open them. It looks like [the Singapore office] will open no later than October,” he said.

KBZ is also attempting to open a representative office in Thailand the same month. It is also submitting documents to the Central Bank of Myanmar for permission, while holding discussions with the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Bank of Thailand.

Officials from KBZ have already made one trip to Singapore to discuss the representative office. More negotiations are necessary to receive permission from the Central Bank of Myanmar, after which it will proceed with the other two countries’ authorities.

“Singapore has many terms and conditions. It is stricter than Thailand,” he said.

The overseas offices will allow easier access with foreign banks. Currently many interactions must take place by fax, but by having overseas offices. KBZ will be able to more quickly and conveniently contact foreign banks.

Daily money transfers and trading will also be faster with the offices, said U Than Cho. “There are so many branch offices of foreign banks in Singapore,” he said.

KBZ expects to open a representative office abroad rather than branch offices.

While representative offices are more limited, they do allow for contact with foreign banks and the opportunity to strengthen contact with stakeholders.

Eventually, KBZ would like to see its representative offices abroad upgraded to branch offices.

The move comes as nine foreign banks are opening their Myanmar branches following a licencing contest last year. A total of 8 of them have opened this year, though ANZ has not.

Previously the Central Bank of Myanmar only allowed representative offices of foreign banks inside the country.

During speeches given at the the opening of the OCBC and UOB branches in Myanmar last month, Central Bank governor U Kyaw Kyaw Maung asked that Singapore authorities also consider the requests of Myanmar banks to open in the country, though he did not specify what banks had applied.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore did not return a previous request for comment. KBZ is chaired by tycoon U Aung Ko Win.

Source: Myanmar Times

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