No Thai banks among 2nd round of Myanmar licensees

YANGON – No Thailand banks were among 13 institutions that answered a call from Myanmar’s central bank for expressions of interest in a second round of foreign bank licensing aimed at further liberalising a sector that was previously off-limits to international players.

Eight of the banks listed in an official central bank statement on Feb 8 as taking part in the second round are from Taiwan. Other countries represented are Vietnam, South Korea, India and Mauritius.

The second round was opened late last year with hopes of bolstering foreign investment into the country, though the central bank has not said how many licenses will be granted. Banking services for Myanmar’s 51 million people are still severely limited in industry is dominated by financial institutions with ties to the former military regime.

A first round in 2014 saw nine banks from Australia, Japan, Malaysia, China, Singapore, and Thailand win licences to operate in Myanmar, in a limited capacity. Banks from countries that won licences in 2014 were barred from entering the second round.

According to the central bank, Taiwan’s Cathay United Bank Co, E. Sun Commercial Bank, Taiwan Business Bank and Taiwan Cooperative Bank all applied. The other Taiwanese contenders were Taiwan Shin Kong Commercial Bank Co, Mega International Commercial Bank Co, First Commercial Bank and CTBC Bank Co.

South Korea’s Shinhan Bank and KB Kookmin Bank were also on the list, as were the State Bank of India and the State Bank of Mauritius and the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam.

Among the winners of licences in 2014 were ANZ Banking Group Ltd, Australia’s fourth-largest lender by assets, Thailand’s Bangkok Bank and Japan’s three biggest lenders: Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc and Mizuho Financial Group Inc.

All have started operations, though services they can offer are limited.

The winners of preliminary licence approval will be announced at the end of the first quarter of 2016, according to the central bank.

 

Source: Reuters

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