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.
“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.