BBL pleased as punch in Myanmar

People use services at a Bangkok Bank branch in Bangkok. In neighbouring Myanmar, BBL is content so far with loan growth at its Yangon branch. PATIPAT JANTHONG

Bangkok Bank (BBL), the country’s largest lender by assets, expects better than expected loan growth at its Yangon branch this year based on strong demand from both local and international customers as they seek opportunities from Myanmar’s vibrant economic growth.

Year-to-date loan growth at the Yangon branch has met targets and there are several deals in the pipeline, said Chaiyarit Anuchitworawong, executive vice-president for international banking business.

Thai corporations are the branch’s major client base, representing more than half the total loan portfolio.

The branch has been in operation since June of last year.

The loan approval process at the Yangon branch has gone smoothly, Mr Chaiyarit said, with Thai customers well prepared for investment in the neighbouring country. BBL has long-standing experience in business operations there.

Thai customers will initially represent the largest portion of lending, with diversification later on a good risk-management basis.

The bank targets Thai and international clients making up equal portions of the lending portfolio at its Yangon branch.

BBL operated its banking business in Myanmar through a representative office for 19 years, upgrading to a foreign branch after winning a licence from authorities there.

The bank’s branch signed its first syndicated loan contract with other foreign banks worth US$60 million, with the first lot to an international infrastructure project. The bank is preparing to extend a second phase of credit facilities.

There are several syndicated loan deals in its pipeline, in collaboration with other foreign banks, he said.

Under the regulations of Myanmar’s central bank, foreign banks can provide service only to international companies and foreign financial institutions, while large infrastructure project investment is mainly financed by foreign investors because local Myanmar banks are too small to fund such schemes.

Registered and paid-up capital at BBL’s Myanmar branch is $200 million, the largest amount of nine licensed foreign banks in the country, well above the central bank of Myanmar’s minimum requirement of $75 million.

Mr Chaiyarit said the bank has no plans to open new foreign branches in the foreseeable future. BBL has branches in every Asean nations except Brunei.

However, each international branch needs to increase registered capital to support their loan growth, he said.


Source: Bangkok Post


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