More foreign banks open their doors in Laos

The Bank of the Lao PDR (BOL) says the increasing number of foreign investment banks in Laos is positive for economic growth and is preparing the country for entrance into the Asean Economic Community in 2015.


“Many banks are investing here and this is good for economic growth,” BOL Deputy Governor Mr Sonexay Sithphaxay said yesterday.

“They are present because they have seen or know what the Lao economy will be like in the future, and they are here as a part of more foreign investment that is entering Laos,” he said.

“If they have quality services, they will benefit once Laos enters the Asean Economic Community,” he added.

Integration into the economic community in 2015 will create a single market and wide production base, a highly competitive economic region of equitable economic development, and a region occupying a significant place within the global economy.

Laos currently has 33 banks and the sector has seen rapid growth in recent years. It is envisaged that this will continue while many of the existing banks are speeding up improvements and expanding the services they offer.

Mr Sonexay said the big foreign financial service groups in Laos include the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, ANZ, Bangkok Bank, Maybank and a French bank.

“There has been another Japanese bank interested in investment in Laos and it is also a big global player. It is now studying the potential value of joining the market,” he added.

There are several other foreign banks considering investing in Laos, including a Cambodian group.

Among the banks and their branches to set up operations in Vientiane recently is Maruhan Japan Bank, the first ever Japanese-owned commercial bank to open in Laos.

Another is Maybank Laos, a branch of the largest financial services group in Malaysia and also one of the largest in Southeast Asia.

vientiane times

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