BANGKOK -- Kasikornbank, Thailand's fourth-largest bank by assets, is set to open its first branch in Laos, which will also be its first foreign branch in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The bank expects a rise in lending demand in the association's member countries in line with the creation of the Asean Economic Community, scheduled for late 2015.
Kasikornbank's regional expansion plan prioritizes Asean countries that share a border with Thailand, including Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Laos was the first to grant Kasikornbank an operating license, and it will register as a local bank.
Currently, Bangkok Bank, Siam Commercial Bank and Bank of Ayudhya have local branches in Laos.
Kasikornbank was also applying for a bank license to operate in Myanmar. However, it did not make the final list, which was announced by the Myanmar government on Oct. 1. Bangkok Bank was the only Thai bank among the nine foreign banks that were selected.
"We were slightly disappointed, but we totally respect the decision and will look for our next chance," President Teeranun Srihong told the Nikkei Asian Review. He added that for the meantime, its representative office in Yangon will offer consultation and other services to its clients.