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IFC and Yoma Bank to Embark on a Historic Foreign Equity Investment in the Myanmar Banking Sector

Yangon, Myanmar, June 17, 2019 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has converted its loan provided in 2014 to 5% equity shareholding to Yoma Bank Limited, one of the largest banks in Myanmar. With this conversion, IFC becomes the first international investor in a commercial bank in Myanmar. This marks an important milestone in the country’s banking sector, boosting foreign direct investment in Myanmar.
In 2014, IFC provided a loan package to Yoma Bank to help it expand lending to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). SMEs play a central role in Myanmar’s economy. Approximately 99.4 percent of all businesses in Myanmar are classified as SMEs, contributing to 50 percent of job creation. Yet, this sector is in urgent need of financing to grow and create more employment opportunities. This lack of financing affects Myanmar’s key sub-sectors including manufacturing, retail, and services.
Since its initial engagement with Yoma Bank, IFC has supported the Bank in a number of areas including credit risk management, corporate governance, finance, treasury, and product development. IFC also helped the Bank implement a new core banking system. This contributed to its transformation into a competitive financial institution operating in line with global best practices and standards — better serving Myanmar’s un- and under-banked population. IFC’s investment and advisory have helped Yoma Bank provide over an approximate 7000 loans worth ~$800 million to SMEs in Myanmar and expand the Bank’s outreach from 52 branches to 80.
 “We are pleased to be the first domestic bank to accept a foreign investor as our shareholder. Yoma Bank has partnered with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) over the past five years improving our risk management, corporate governance, and audit capabilities. We welcome IFC to our Board of Directors and look forward to contributing further to the development of Myanmar’s economy,” said Mr. Serge Pun @ U Theim Wai, Executive Chairman of Yoma Bank.
 “We would like to thank Yoma Bank for being exemplary partners. Yoma Bank has followed global standards of governance diligently.” said Vikram Kumar, IFC Country Manager for Myanmar and Thailand. He added, “Our investment and advisory work with Yoma Bank have enabled many enterprises in Myanmar to grow their businesses. With our equity stake in Yoma Bank, and long-standing partnership, we can help the Bank further expand its product offerings and meet the country’s financing gap.”
IFC’s conversion from debt to equity in Yoma Bank was approved by the Central Bank of Myanmar in October last year. In alignment with the government’s efforts, IFC and Yoma Bank support the development of Myanmar’s financial and banking sector as banks are critically important in helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses and contribute to the country’s economic growth.
About IFC
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org
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About Yoma Bank                
Founded in 1993, Yoma Bank is Myanmar's most progressive domestic bank. Over the past few years, Yoma Bank has made significant investments in strategic priorities - people, technology and corporate governance.  Yoma Bank is Myanmar's fourth largest bank by assets with 3000+ employees and 75 branches across the country. Yoma Bank was the International Finance Corporation's (IFC) first direct investment in Myanmar in 2014 and it benefitted from a comprehensive 3-year advisory package to upgrade credit risk management, finance, treasury, product development and to procure a new core banking system (Misys Fusion Banking Essence). Yoma Bank also receives ongoing technical assistance from GIZ, the German development agency, to improve and expand our SME lending. In 2015, Yoma Bank formed a strategic partnership with Telenor (Myanmar's largest foreign Telco) to develop nationwide digital financial services through the formation of Wave Money, a mobile financial services company. Yoma Bank has benefitted from a significant grant from LIFT, a multi-donor, UNDP administered trust fund, to expand agribusiness finance to Myanmar's underserved agricultural community - a key segment in Myanmar’s development. Technical assistance for this program is provided by Rabo Bank, a Dutch agricultural bank. Yoma Bank is committed to financial inclusion in Myanmar.