YANGON, Myanmar (AP) – Myanmar awarded licences Wednesday to the first foreign banks allowed to operate in the country in a half-century.
Lenders from Japan, China and Australia were among the nine banks to receive licences in a reform implemented after Myanmar emerged from dictatorship.
Those to receive licences included Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group. Others were Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp, Mizuho Bank, Thailand’s Bangkok Bank, Singapore’s Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp and United Overseas Bank and Malaysia’s Malayan Banking Bhd.
Each bank will be allowed to open one branch and cannot conduct retail banking. They can only lend to foreign investors in foreign currencies, not the local kyat, unless they partner with local bank, part of efforts to protect the fledgling domestic industry.
There were no US or European lenders in the group announced by the Central Bank. Licences went to banks among the 25 that already have representative offices in Myanmar, a group that includes no American or European lenders.
Myanmar nationalised banks in 1963 under military rule.