New round of foreign bank licensing in Myanmar


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On 7 November 2019 the Central Bank of Myanmar issued announcement confirming that a third round of foreign bank licensing will be initiated and opened to foreign banks with representative offices in Myanmar (the “Announcement”).

Pursuant to the Announcement, foreign banks will be able to apply either for a branch or for a subsidiary license, as summarized below:

  Branch License Subsidiary License
Products and services Wholesale banking Wholesale banking at the start of operations and later on – onshore retail banking activities to be permitted from 1 January 2021
Minimum paid-in capital USD 75 million (with USD 40 million locked up for 2 years with CBM) USD 100 million
Place of business Can establish only one place of business Can establish up to 10 places of business as branches or offsite ATMs

Conversion of existing foreign bank branch into subsidiary

Pursuant to the Announcement, this should be allowed from June 2020.   Three full years of activities as a branch in Myanmar are required as a pre-condition.

Foreign ownership in Myanmar domestic banks

The announcement further provides that from 1 January 2020 and on a case to case basis, foreign bank ownership into Myanmar domestic banks exceeding 35% may be permitted.

Next steps

As follows from the Announcement, requests for Expressions of Interest (EOI) will be shared by the Central Bank with eligible banks.

Nainjyot Kaur Gandhi
Nainjyot Kaur Gandhi
Legal Associate
Corporate Commercial & M&A Team
VDB Loi, Myanmar

Nainjyot Gandhi is a legal advisor and assist clients in the corporate M&A, banking and finance, and TMT sector. She advises international financial institutions, commercial lenders, corporate borrowers and state-owned banks. She also focuses on micro financing and business combinations in Myanmar.

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