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Thai bank in Rangoon

RANGOON, Burma (AP) - The Thai Military Bank opened a representative office in Rangoon

on Jan. 21, becoming the first foreign bank allowed to operate in this isolationist

nation.

At an opening ceremony, bank President and Chief Executive Officer Thanong Bidaya

said he hoped the office will develop into a full branch office in the near future.

Attending the ceremony was Kyaw Kyaw Maung, vice governor of Burma's Central Bank.

Thai Military Bank is the sixth largest Thai bank in terms of total assets.

Other overseas banks have been trying unsuccessfully for years to gain Burma's permission

to operate in the country.

For the past three decades, Burma has been ruled by closed, socialist-style military

regimes, although a more moderate leadership in place since last April has pursued

some reforms.

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