From The Report: Myanmar 2020
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The pace of reform in Myanmar’s banking sector has been increasing in recent years, with liberalisation taking a major step forwards in November 2019 when the Central Bank of Myanmar announced that foreign banks would be able to secure a licence to engage in onshore retail business through a subsidiary or joint venture from 2021. Naturally, challenges remain for an industry that only recently emerged from decades of exclusion from the global financial system. Many citizens remain outside the formal network of banks and microfinance institutions, relying instead on informal sources for their financial needs. Skilled human resources also remain a barrier, as new banking methods increasingly challenge traditional practices, while local professionals trained to global banking standards remain scarce. Furthermore, as reform continues, the regulatory regime remains restrictive in terms of products, interest rates, loan books and deposits. This chapter contains a viewpoint from U Kyaw Kyaw Maung, Governor, Central Bank of Myanmar; as well as interviews with Linus Goh, Head of Global Commercial Banking and Executive Vice-President, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation; and Christopher Loh, CEO, uab Bank.