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Integration is slowly taking hold in ASEAN's banking sector

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A bank teller counts rupiah bank notes at a branch inside Bank Mandiri headquarters in Jakarta.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- Although bank regulators in Southeast Asia are making only slow progress in opening up the region's financial industry, banks are managing to spread their wings through mergers and acquisitions, and using digital technology.

These moves are driven by lenders' ambition to grow and thrive in a more competitive single market: the ASEAN Economic Community. According to the latest figures on the market cap of banks compiled by QUICK-FactSet, lenders that actively reach out to meet the growing needs for financial services in the region rank higher.

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