Seven Asian banks granted preliminary licenses in Myanmar

Among the 7 new banks granted preliminary licenses (out of 13 applications) are 3 banks from Korea (state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB), Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK), Kookmin Bank), 2 from Taiwan (Cathay United Bank and Mega International Commercial Bank), 1 from Thailand (Siam Commercial Bank, SCB), and 1 from Hong-Kong (Bank of China).

This bid was the third foreign bank license competition and will eventually bring the total number of foreign banks in Myanmar to 20. The preliminary license gives 9 months to the winners to lay out their plans. Once definitely granted, the banks will be allowed to open up to 10 wholesale-only branches and, after 2021, to enter the retail market.

Thailand’s No. 2 bank by market capitalization, Kasikornbank had announced earlier this month that it planned to invest up to USD 40 million in a 35% stake in Myanmar’s Ayeyarwaddy Farmers Development Bank after receiving approval from the Central Bank of Myanmar.

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