YANGON, MYANMAR, 3 August 2016 – Kanbawza Bank (KBZ Bank) Limited, part of the KBZ Group of Companies, has opened a representative office in Bangkok, Thailand. The move makes them the first Myanmar bank to establish an international presence.
Earlier this year KBZ officially received a licence from the Bank of Thailand to open a representative office in Bangkok and today marks the beginning of a new chapter. It is the completion of KBZ Bank’s first step towards their goal of becoming Myanmar’s foremost commercial presence in the Southeast Asian (ASEAN) region and internationally.
“We intend to start offering financial and advisory services as soon as possible to Myanmar individuals and businesses in Thailand and, naturally, Thai businesses interested in entering Myanmar. We hope they take advantage of our extensive knowledge of Myanmar’s financial markets and join the growing bilateral trade between our two countries,” said U Than Cho, Senior Managing Director of KBZ Bank, who believes that the new office in Thailand could play a key role in helping Myanmar support the entire ASEAN business community.
When Thai Deputy Prime Minister PrawitWongsuwan met Myanmar President U HtinKyaw in Nay Pyi Taw last month, it was announced that the two countries intend to double bilateral trade to US$20bn in 2017. Through its representative office, KBZ Bank will help reach that target.
“The long-standing relationship between the two countries offers ample opportunities to collaborate across various sectors in the region. We have long been a leading financial institution in Myanmar, and are prepared to represent the country alongside our international industry peers,” added U Than Cho.
Additionally, KBZ Bank is able to explore opportunities to build relations with, and eventually cater to the large Myanmar population in the Kingdom – estimated to be around 3 million people – when they return to their home country.
He further elaborated that in order to open this office today, KBZ Bank had to undergo stringent due diligence procedures and demonstrate significant transparency as part of the licence application. This included an appraisal of the bank’s position in the market, background information of its shareholders, the awards the bank has received and its accounts and investments to ensure its operations adhered to the guidelines set by the Bank of Thailand.
KBZ Group has a proven track-record of operating with industry best practices as evidenced in 2014, when the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB) recognized the KBZ Group of Companies as the most transparent organization in Myanmar. With endorsements from the Central Bank of Myanmar and the Royal Thai Embassy in Yangon, KBZ Bank was successful in demonstrating its financial sector credentials and compliance.
The representative office is headed by ZeyarSeinHtut, KBZ Bank’s newly appointed Country Head for Thailand, and it will focus on activities such as market research, liaising with the private sector and serving as a source of information, including regulatory requirements for doing business both in Thailand and Myanmar.
The bank is poised to continue expansion in ASEAN, where it has recently earned its licence to open another representative office in Singapore.