South Korean lender latest foreign bank to open branch in Myanmar

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.

Support more independent journalism like this. Sign up to be a Frontier member.

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.

More stories

Latest Issue

Stories in this issue
Myanmar enters 2021 with more friends than foes
The early delivery of vaccines is one of the many boons of the country’s geopolitics, but to really take advantage, Myanmar must bury the legacy of its isolationist past.
Will the Kayin BGF go quietly?
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.

Support our independent journalism and get exclusive behind-the-scenes content and analysis

Stay on top of Myanmar current affairs with our Daily Briefing and Media Monitor newsletters.

Sign up for our Frontier Fridays newsletter. It’s a free weekly round-up featuring the most important events shaping Myanmar