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Thailand's Siam Commercial Bank expands to Myanmar in overseas growth push

[BANGKOK] Thailand's Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) is looking to issue loans up to 7 billion baht (S$302.7 million) over the next five years in Myanmar after receiving a preliminary approval to set up a subsidiary there, it said on Friday.

The license allows Thailand's third-largest lender by assets to open up to 10 branches in business areas. It will focus on Thai clients with investments in Myanmar in the first phase, chief executive Arthid Nanthawithaya said.

The bank has over 100 Thai business clients in Myanmar across consumer goods, energy and agro-industry sectors.

"We have set a lending target of 7 billion baht by 2024," Mr Nanthawithaya said.

The expansion is in line with the bank's strategy to widen its regional network. It already has branches in six other regions, including Laos, Shanghai and Singapore.

Thai banks having been trying to grow by expanding abroad. SCB rival Bangkok Bank took a controlling stake in Indonesia's PT Bank Permata for US$2.7 billion in December last year.

SCB said it will be able to offer banking services to local retail customers in Myanmar, including personal loans and wealth management, after 2021.

"Myanmar's retail banking market is a very attractive opportunity with the country's population of 54 million," Mr Nanthawithaya said.

REUTERS

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