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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Maruhan moves into Yangon

Maruhan moves into Yangon

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A Maruhan Japan Bank Plc branch in Phnom Penh yesterday. Photograph: Hong Menea/Phnom Penh Post

The Cambodian branch of Maruhan Japan Bank will foster financial connections between the Kingdom and Myanmar via a representative office the bank opened in Yangon this week.

The office officially opened its doors on Saturday, according to a statement from the bank.

It’s the 21st foreign bank office to open in Myanmar as political and economic reforms take hold in the country closed off for more than 20 years.

“We are incredibly proud to be the first Cambodian bank to support commercial and financial links between Cambodia and Myanmar, and we are confident that this support will contribute to the future success of both countries,” Onishi Shizuo, general manager at Cambodia’s Maruhan, said in a statement.

“We consider ourselves as pioneers within the ASEAN banking industry. Many of our customers are also pioneers in their own respective fields and are keen to capitalise on the business opportunities the changes in Myanmar [and the] ASEAN region will offer.”

Officials with the parent company declined to comment when contacted yesterday.

Cambodia’s largest locally owned bank, Acleda, applied for a micro-finance licensc in Myanmar in mid-June. The process will require about six months for approval, Acleda Chief Executive and President In Channy, said yesterday.

While Maruhan’s role in Myanmar will be primarily a source of information for incoming Japanese businesses, Acleda will actually function as a lender, In Channy said.

“We already formed our team. I went there last week to meet the authorities of the central bank and other authorities of the six states,” he said. “We plan four branches: one in Yangon and three others in other states. But in our master plan, we wish to cover 14 states. But in the first five or six years, we’ll do only six states.”

Acleda will not have a banking licence, but will still offer deposit accounts and money transfers via micro-finance services.

Cambodia’s loan to gross domestic product ratio was about 30 per cent, while deposits to GDP were about 40 per cent, according to In Channy. In Myanmar, however, the same figures were about 5 and 10 per cent.

“We still got a lot more room to grow their,” he said.

Maruhan entered Cambodia’s crowded banking sector in 2008. It was the first Japanese entrant. The bank has seen solid growth, according to a statement.

Loans from Maruhan jumped 300 per cent last year to about US$46 million compared to 2010. Deposits climbed by 16 per cent to $56 million.

To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at kunmakara.may@phnompenhpost.com

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