Thursday, April 09, 2020

SCB’s aim remains high in Myanmar 

May 28. 2017
Kamalkant Agarwal, head of international banking at SCB.
Kamalkant Agarwal, head of international banking at SCB.
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ALTHOUGH Siam Commercial Bank is yet to get a foreign-bank licence in Myanmar, it has broadened its support to banking professionals in that country, according to Kamalkant Agarwal, head of international banking at SCB.

“Regarding the licence, we remain hopeful and will definitely keep trying … It is up to the central bank. On our side, we are very keen and whenever there is a new round, we will definitely apply for it,” he said in a recent interview.

Kamalkant believes more reforms and relaxed regulations will be seen in Myanmar as local banks grow over time thanks to their growing investments in hiring skilled staff as well as bids to employ highly advanced technology.

He is pretty satisfied with SCB’s progress since opening its representative office in 2012. 

“We are allowed to offer only limited products here. But we can still do many things. We can let Thai companies understand more about the Myanmar market and help them grow. Every year, we learn more.

“When we first came here, we did not know anybody. Now we know most of the Myanmar companies and banks here. We have a better understanding of the market. So we have come a long way since we opened our rep office here,” he said.

Kamalkant said the bank now focused on two main things: supporting local banks and helping Myanmar and Thai corporates in the market. He enjoys cooperating with the central bank and its local partners including KBZ Bank. 

Like other Thai banks operating in Myanmar, SCB is committed to supporting the nation’s banking and financial sector. It launched on Thursday the first programme exclusively tailored for Myanmar banking executives. 

This “Myanmar Banker Leadership Programme” focuses on building skills and deepening knowledge of banking executives from both the public and private sectors. 

One executive from each of the country’s 30 state-owned and private banks will join the first classes of the programme, which will begin next month. The programme offers two levels of courses, for young executives and senior executives, to cater to the needs of the different levels. 

The 45-day course was developed by the Thammasat Business School with guidance from the Myanmar Bankers Association (MBA). It reflects the current requirements of the country’s banking sector, which include the fundamentals of financial management, such as financial analysis, credit-risk management, trade finance, foreign exchange, money-market management and portfolio management. 

“We approached the MBA to develop the programme, which they immediately welcomed. Our top management is delighted to support and play a part in helping Myanmar overcome its challenges and seize new opportunities. We believe supporting the sector and its people results in a stronger backbone for the market, benefiting business and communities,” Kamalkant said. 

“We usually look at the areas [that] are mostly needed and then we provide support. We considered development of human resources as a core |area. It took us over a year to understand who should be our partners to work with, what should be the course contents, etc,” he said. 

He said the bank had selected Thammasat Business School among the three universities that were discussed and then the MBA decided whether the curriculum was suitable for Myanmar or not. 

Associate Professor Pipop Udorn, dean of Thammasat Business School, said the coursework included cases, lectures and simulations – providing a mix of in-classroom and practical learning – as well as a two-day trip to Bangkok to meet and hear from regulators, leading companies and start-ups.

He said the Young Executive course aimed to enhance the participants’ knowledge in banking and finance topics as well as leadership skills through action-oriented and collaborative learning, while the Senior Executive course focused on people management, leadership skills and strategic planning. 


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