Banks seek expansion in Myanmar
A group of CEOs from Korea’s leading commercial and state-run banks are stepping up efforts to expand in Myanmar, one of many untapped markets in Southeast Asia known for its huge growth potential.
They are part of President Moon Jae-in’s delegation to Myanmar, a viable alternative to the Chinese market.
Those accompanying Moon include Shinhan Bank CEO Jin Ok-dong, KB Kookmin Bank CEO Hur Yin, KEB Hana Bank CEO Ji Sung-kyoo, Woori Financial Group Chairman Sohn Taeseung, Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK) CEO Kim Do-jin and Korea Federation of Banks (KFB) Chairman Kim Tae-young.
KFB CEO Kim signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with his counterpart in Myanmar on Sept. 4 to boost the Financial Knowledge Sharing Program, a personnel exchange program to bolster cooperation among financial figures in the two countries.
KB Kookmin Bank’s Hur signed an MOU with Myanmar’s labor minister U Thein Swe and the Human Resources Development Service of Korea (HRD Korea) in Yangon on the same day.
Under the agreement, KB will offer financial services to Myanmarese migrant workers coming to Korea via a KRD Korea-organized program.
The Export-Import Bank of Korea (Eximbank) signed an agreement with Myanmar’s finance ministry to offer $160 million for an Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) to help build infrastructure.
The money will be used to build an electronic data center and improve roads, electricity and water near the Korea-Myanmar economic industrial complex in Yangon.
IBK CEO Kim has sought to enhance cooperation with financial authorities in Myanmar to upgrade its liaison office in Yangon to a bank branch. The financial leaders’ rare trip came amid their long-term strategy to find sustainable growth amid a domestic market that is nearly saturated.
Myanmar, with an annual growth rate of about 7 percent, is an attractive investment destination following recent deregulation efforts to draw in foreign investment. Its geographical advantage — close proximity to emerging markets including China and India — is another strong point.
The Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) said it will offer banks consultation on Myanmar’s business and overall regulatory environment, followed by meetings and academic seminars attended by financial authorities there, as part of efforts to help the banks establish and maintain strong business ties.
The FSS will increase the number of meetings with financial authorities to help set up communication channels and build a network among relevant figures in Korea and Myanmar.
Export-Import Bank of Korea (Eximbank) Deputy President Kang Seung-joong, center, poses with Eximbank Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) Operations Director General Um Sung-yong, left, and ranking officials from Myanmar’s construction and finance ministries at Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Tuesday.