One of South Korea’s biggest banks has become the country’s first to open a branch in Myanmar, media reports said last week.
Shinhan Bank, South Korea’s oldest bank and its fourth-biggest by assets, opened the branch in Yangon on November 3, the reports said.
The opening brings to 13 the number of foreign banks providing services under limited operating licences issued by the Central Bank of Myanmar since October 2014.
“We will provide more convenient financial services to help Korean companies do business in Myanmar and expand bilateral trade relations between the two countries,” Shinhan Bank president Mr Cho Yong-byung said at the opening ceremony, the reports said.
The opening of the branch “is the result of trust building between the local community and financial authorities,” he said at the event, attended by CBM governor, U Kyaw Kyaw Maung.
Shinhan Bank, which opened a representative office in Yangon in September, has a presence in more than 20 countries and territories. It recently opened branches in Japan, China, Vietnam, India, Cambodia and Indonesia, reports said.
It was one of four banks, all from Asia, which received the green light to open branches in a second round of licensing approvals announced by the CBM in March.
The nine foreign banks granted limited licences in the first round in 2014 are from China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Australia.
Foreign banks are limited to one branch, are barred from retail operations and are permitted to lend only to foreign companies in foreign currency or to provide kyat loans to Myanmar companies through domestic banks.
Myanmar had 14 foreign banks, more than any other country in Southeast Asia, before they were nationalised in 1963 under the Ne Win regime.