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RETAIL BANKING | Cesar Tordesillas, Thailand

Myanmar's open door policy attracts Thai banks

Thai banks are eyeing to operate in Myanmar when the latter's policy of opening to international banks takes effect on 2015.


Than Lwin, deputy chairman of Kanbawza Bank Ltd, yesterday said Myanmar authorities plan to amend laws on banking, insurance and foreign exchange operations in a few months.

The move will coincide with the advent of the Asean Economic Community, which will attempt to integrate Southeast Asian markets by 2015.

Myanmar wants to attract foreign investors who would need the international banks to fulfil their foreign exchange needs.

Kasikornbank, Thailand's third-largest bank by asset size, wants to open a representative office there but will conduct a study on rules, regulations and culture before deciding.

KBank has set a goal of 5,000 outlets throughout Southeast Asia including Myanmar using a partnership strategy.

Siam Commercial Bank is to date the sole Thai bank to have gained Bank of Thailand permission to have an operating office in Myanmar.

President Kannikar Chalitaporn said SCB is keen on servicing Dawei industrial projects.

Myanmar is nearing a decision to dismantle its fixed exchange rate, which would lay the groundwork for reconnecting the country to global commerce.

The change may take place within a month or two, said Than Lwin, adding that reports it will take place on April 1 are just rumours.

He said it partially depends on the International Monetary Fund's formula for the single-currency system, as an IMF team is advising officials now.

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