TRADE FINANCE | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Myanmar to allow 13 foreign banks to offer import financing services

Only trade financing was previously allowed for foreign lenders.

Myanmar is steadily making headway in opening up its financial services sector after the central bank gave clearance to 13 foreign banks seeking to provide import financing services, reports The Myanmar Times. 

Also read: Myanmar steps up oversight over share acquistions by foreign banks

“We will give priority to 13 existing permitted banks by allowing them to expand their services to include import financing,” Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) director general U Win Thaw told TMT, adding that foreign lenders can now provide the full suite of trade financing services.

Import financing will also facilitate trade and maintain the price of imported products under control, he added.

There are also plans to allow importers to open accounts at foreign banks, Thaw added, which is a good policy to ensure the entry of more foreign currency into the market.

Foreign banks in Myanmar are still prohibited from providing retail banking services like savings account and loans as the CBM restricts them to the provision of export financing and wholesale banking services, a disparity that the central bank acknowledges.

“We have a plan to allow more foreign banks to participate in the economy but we haven’t fixed the time,” he said.

Photo from Michael Coghlan from Adelaide, Australia - Settling In, CC BY-SA 2.0

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