Two more foreign banks open branches in Yangon

An Indian bank with a link to Yangon in the colonial era and a Taiwanese bank are the latest foreign lenders to open branches in Myanmar under restricted licences.

The State Bank of India and E. Sun Commercial Bank were among four foreign banks granted preliminary operating licences by the Central Bank of Myanmar in March.

The two institutions, which opened branches in Yangon on October 3, bring to 13 the number of foreign banks granted approval to open branches in Myanmar in two licensing rounds during the last two years.

SBI, India’s largest bank, aspires to become an important link in trade and commerce between Myanmar and the world, reported Indian daily The Hindu.

It quoted SBI chairman Ms Arundhati Bhattacharya, who opened the branch, as saying the bank’s relationship with Myanmar dated to 1861, when a predecessor, the former Bank of Bengal, operated in Yangon.

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

“Later on, in the course of nationalisation of banks, the operations of the Rangoon branch were taken over by the Peoples’ Bank No. 8 of Burma in February 1963,” she said.

E. Sun Bank, the first Taiwanese bank to receive CBM approval for branch operations, was among eight from the island on a shortlist of 13 Asian banks released in February for the second round of licence applications.

The bank plans to target Taiwanese and foreign business clients, Taiwan’s state-owned Central News Agency reported.

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.

By Frontier

By Frontier

In-depth, unbiased coverage of Myanmar in an era of transition. Our fortnightly English language print magazine is published every other Thursday, with daily news updates online.
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

More stories

Latest Issue

Stories in this issue
What Kyaw Myint’s downfall tells us about doing business in Myanmar
Kyaw Myint is just the tiniest tip of a very large iceberg of criminal activity in Myanmar’s business community, but as long as you steer clear of politics you’re unlikely to get caught.
Myths, militias and the destruction of Loi Sam Sip
Activists in northern Shan State have been fighting for years to protect a culturally and environmentally important mountain range but face opposition from Tatmadaw-aligned militias – and a company linked to the speaker of Myanmar’s national parliament.

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

Our fortnightly magazine is available in print, digital, or a combination beginning at $80 a year

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