Singapore’s UOB Offers First Onshore Loan in Burma

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 7 May 2015

RANGOON — Singapore-based United Overseas Bank (UOB), which was recently awarded one of nine initial foreign banking licenses in Burma, announced on Thursday that it will offer the first onshore loan in the country once isolated from the global economy.

The loan will be awarded to Rangoon Excelsior Company Ltd, a French-Burmese joint venture, for refurbishing a colonial building in downtown Rangoon for use as a hotel.

UOB said in a press release that as it expands in Burma it will prioritize corporate loans, trade and project financing with a focus on the hospitality sector, viewed as one of the fastest-growing industries in the country as investment and tourism increase.

The bank expects to offer additional onshore loans within one month of opening its Rangoon branch this week, financing factories, retailers and hotels, the statement said.

Singapore-based companies topped the list for foreign direct investment in Burma at the start of the current fiscal year, according to the Myanmar Investment Commission.

Due to the number of Singapore-listed companies entering Burma’s newly liberalized market, the government granted two of nine foreign operator licenses to Singaporean banks in October 2014—UOB and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC).