BRANCH BANKING | Tony Chua, Malaysia

Malaysia mulls to add leniency to foreign banks’ expansion

Bank Negara Malaysia opened up a wider door for Southeast Asian banks to add number of branches.

Malaysia may allow Southeast Asian banks to open more branches there in the future as it aims to further liberalise its financial sector, the country's central bank said on Monday.

Malaysia has restricted the number of branches a foreign bank can open there as it wants banks to open not only in urban areas, but also in rural areas, to reach small businesses.

"Going forward, this number will be increased aggressively, for now it is eight," governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz told reporters in an Islamic finance conference in Jakarta.

Bank Mandiri, Indonesia's largest bank owned by the state, has said it wants to expand to Malaysia, where about 2.2 million Indonesian migrant workers are employed.

View the full story in Reuters.

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