Myanmar’s Asian Green Development is seeking foreign partners and has held talks with Uber technologies Inc., as it seeks to harness digital platform to serve the most under-banked countries in Asia.
The lender’s search for ride sharing partners, including preliminary discussions with Uber’s Myanmar Head, said U Htoo Htet Tay Za during the interview with Bloomberg in Yangon. The lender is seeking to benefit from huge appetite for technology in the country, where 50% of the population is aged under 45 years, he said.
Although it supports its mobile platforms, the Yangon based bank is facing with two challenges in Myanmar; the lowest mobile phone penetration rate in Asia and poor financial literacy. About 77% of the population in one of the region’s smallest economy, has no access to financial services, as stated by Consultant Roland Berger. Some 30% of Myanmar people had mobile phone subscriptions in 2015, compared to 95% , in regional leader Hong kong, as per GSMA Intelligience estimates.
Financial inclusion for AGD Bank is our top priority – said Htoo Htet Tay Za in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “The real opportunity that represent here is, that we should be using fin tech and a digital platform to overcome brick and mortar approaches and turn into the unbanked market’.
The twenty four year old bank chief expects growth in AGD’s mobile banking method users to reach 50% annually, he said, without giving most recent expansion rates. AGD formed a tie-up with Thailand’s True Money Co. two years ago, to offer mobile services, such as money transfers. The partnership allows the bank to assist remit money from Myanmar nationals living in Thailand.
AGD Bank is owned by the Tay Za family in majority, got its banking license in 2010, and is among twenty four privately owned banks in the country. U tay Za, father of Htoo Htet tay Za, was once economically sanctioned by the United States in 2007, along with his HTOO Group of Companies and his wife, in a program targeting financial backers of the Burmese Military Regime. The United States lifted sanctions against the Southeast Asian Nation, along with individuals and entities in October 2016, citing that “substantial advances to promote democracy”, as well as on human rights.