KBZ Strengthens Remittance Services with US Banks


After kicking off the US-Myanmar direct money transfer service, Kanbawza Bank (KBZ) has tried to establish a direct channel with US banks, KBZ managing director U Win Lwin told the media.

Right now, KBZ has opened a USD settlement account in New York’s branch of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC). Hence, direct money transfer service for bilateral trade between the United States and Myanmar has been available starting from February 16, he told the Myanmar Times.

In order to provide better services to the business community, KBZ is in the process of establishing a direct connection with US banks, he said at a press conference on February 27.

US sanctions against Myanmar began in 1998. Since then, direct money transfer to the US has not been allowed, and transfer had to pass through buffer countries or regions. Last May, it was announced that US sanctions against Myanmar were lifted. Direct money transfers, which had been banned for 18 years, became available again.

“A service, which used to be very, very difficult before, will now be provided to business persons very conveniently.

Previously it took a lot of time to transfer money to the US because it [money] had to pass through buffer countries, but now that service will enable … transfers within a day. At present, we are only connected to New York’s branch of the SMBC. Later, we will try to directly connect with US domestic banks,” U Win Lwin said.

Money transfers are mostly made through major trade partners such as Singapore, Thailand, India, China and Malaysia.

Before the lifting of sanctions, there was no direct transfer service with the US; money transfers to America were usually made via those countries. Now, depending on availability of direct services, transfers could be done within a day.
“It took a lot of time previously. Now it can be finished within one day, and it is very convenient. Such convenience is what we need most,” managing director of KK Import Enterprise Daw Kaythi Aung told the Myanmar Times.

The US has already lifted sanctions against Myanmar, and the list of 5000 lines of products which can be exported under Generalised System of Preference (GSP) has been announced. Because of this, bilateral trade and US investment in Myanmar has the potential to increase, said U Aung Naing Oo, Secretary of Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) and Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) director general on December 6, 2016.

However, U Aung Naing Oo also pointed out that the banking sector will be required to do faster money transfers and provide more efficient and better banking services between the two countries.

The US statement, terminating remaining sanctions against Myanmar and removing individuals from the American sanction list, was announced in early October, 2016.  Myanmar’s eligibility for benefits to export more than 5000 kinds of goods under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) program was reinstated on November 13, 2016 according to United States Trade Representative (USTR) official website.


Source: Myanmar Times

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