Sampath Bank PLC., Sri Lanka's third – biggest privately owned lender by assets, is looking to invest and lend in Southeast Asia's developing economies like Myanmar, Managing Director/CEO Aravinda Perera revealed to the Ceylon FT yesterday."We wish to start our Myanmar operations with a representative office. Sampath is the first Sri Lankan bank applied for the Myanmar banking licence. We wish, we will get it soon," he said.
Myanmar is a virgin market. Firstly, we have to study the situation, he said.
Banks in Sri Lanka is highly competitive; our branch expansions with strategic locations contribute positively in increasing market share in credit and deposits, Aravinda Perera said.
The bank now operates 220 branches. So far this year we opened three new branches with another five to follow he said.
According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Myanmar could follow Asia's fast growing economies and expand at 7-8% a year, become a middle income nation and triple per capita income by 2030.
Commercial Bank has become the first Sri Lankan bank to be granted a licence by the Central Bank of Myanmar to operate a Representative Office in the Southeast Asian Republic which has more than 50 million people, which was exclusively reported in the Ceylon FT in its 1 June edition.The Commercial Bank of Ceylon opened its representative office in Yangon on Monday, 8 June, formally launching its operations in Myanmar, initially to offer Advisory Services to Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi businesses wishing to enter that country, and to arrange Banking and Advisory facilities, funds transfer and encashment services.
"Due to Myanmar's restricted banking environment, we didn't expect much from it," the Commercial Bank official said.
Meanwhile, Hatton National Bank PLC (HNB)., second-biggest privately owned lender by assets, also is looking to invest and lend in Southeast Asia's developing economies, HNB, Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Alles recently said in Bloomberg interview.
"The region of Cambodia and Myanmar are presenting opportunities," for lending to small and medium enterprises and microfinance, he told Bloomberg news wire.
According to Bloomberg news wire, Hatton National may also look at 'placing debt or taking equity stakes in companies' in the Asia-Pacific region.
Courtesy: Ceylon Financial Today 30 June 2015