Four Thai banks – Bangkok Bank, Krungthai Bank, Siam Commercial Bank and Kasikorn-bank – are competing to obtain banking licenses in Myanmar, after the country’s financial sector was opened up for foreign banks.

If these Thai banks are able to obtain banking licenses, they can accept deposits and provide loans. Currently, these banks, with representative offices, are able to offer only consultancy services in the country.

The restricted banking license will be given to five to 10 of the 42 overseas banks, said the Myanmar banking regulator; although, it did not reveal the licensing process, reports The Nation.

To develop the domestic banking industry, Myanmar is currently offering restricted licenses only for corporate banking business, with foreign banks limited to open one branch.

Of the four Thai banks in Myanmar, Bangkok Bank opened its representative office in 1995, becoming the oldest bank to open an office in the country. Other three lenders are new entrants, which set up offices just two years ago.

Krungthai Bank first senior executive vice president Kittiya Todhanakasem said that the bank believes to obtain a full branch license. It has already submitted an expression of interest to apply for the restricted banking license.

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Siam Commercial Bank, adviser to chairman of the executive committee, Kamalkant Agarwal said that the bank will apply next month.