CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, Malaysia’s second-largest lender, plans to seek banking licences in Myanmar and Vietnam as part of its drive to expand in fast-growing Southeast Asian markets.
CIMB, Southeast Asia’s fifth-largest bank by assets, is also keen to open a banking business in the Philippines and is studying regulations that allow foreign banks to take full control of local lenders, CIMB Group Chief Executive Nazir Razak told reporters last week.
He was in Bangkok to announce that CIMB-Principal Asset Management Co has signed a deal to acquire Finansa Asset Management Ltd in Thailand from Finansa Pcl for 225 million baht ($7.09 million).
CIMB aims to open branches in all Southeast Asian countries by 2015 when a planned partial integration of the ASEAN economies will be completed, he said.
CIMB, which is seeking to acquire two lenders to create Malaysia’s largest bank, has been the most acquisitive of the country’s banks.
Southeast Asian banks have been on a roll, benefitting from booming property markets and double-digit growth in both consumer and corporate loans in rapidly expanding economies like Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand.
Myanmar may allow foreign banks to operate with a limited licence later this year.