More funding for Lao businesses

CIMB Bank has finally opened it’s first branch in Laos. The branch is CIMB’s first presence in Laos, and is interestingly also the first overseas branch for CIMB Thailand.  The move marks yet another show of confidence by international financial institutions of the Lao market, albeit the existing Lao-Thai relationship.

At the launch, president and CEO of CIMB Thai Bank PLC, Mr Subhak Siwaraksa announced THB 300m (75b LAK) of business loans in the Lao branch’s first year of operation. These loans are to be funded by local deposits.

“Lao PDR has high economic growth prospect and abundance of natural resources, and is a major trading partner of Thailand. We are committed to take part in driving and growing together with the country’s economy. We will serve as a gateway to ASEAN for customers here, leveraging on CIMB Group’s strong regional network,” he added.

CIMB Thai Bank – Ventiane Branch will be the seventh Thai commercial bank and the 35th commercial bank incorporated in Lao PDR. Located at Lan Xang Avenue, near the famous Patuxay Monument and in the proximity of trade, business and cultural centers of Nakhon Luang Vientiane.

Subhak further elaborated that, in expanding its branch network across ASEAN, CIMB Group and CIMB Thai always believe in prioritizing the needs of the local people. As such, the Vientiane branch will serve primarily business customers, especially in manufacturing, local trade and foreign trade, and retail customers to whom the bank will offer deposit products and outward remittance services. Corporate customers will be offered payroll account services.

The bank is targeting THB 300 million loan approvals in the first year of operation, to be funded by deposits from local customers.

Lao PDR has recorded an average economic growth of 7.6% for the past five years with healthy growth prospect ahead. Asian Development Bank (ADB) has predicted Lao PDR’s economic growth of 7.3% for 2014 and 7.5% for 2015. The growth in the previous year was contributed mainly by the service sector which expanded 9%, largely supported by strong loan financing in the banking sector. Household spending moved up in line with the income increase and retail and wholesale trade business expanded significantly. Tourism grew 12%, pushing up the number of tourist inflows to 3.7 million persons in 2013, and thus contributing to related businesses like hotels, restaurants and transportation. Communications sector witnessed a two-digit growth buoyed by the fastgrowing mobile phone and internet businesses.

CIMB now has presence in 9 of the 10 Asean nations.

Source – CIMB corporate website; Vientiane Times,

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