November 24, 2022
NAYPYIDAW – ANZ announced on November 22 that it would pull out of Myanmar, dealing a blow to the State Administration Council government and potentially ramping up pressure on other overseas banks, ABC News reported.
In a brief statement issued on November 22 afternoon, the major Australian bank said it would cease its Myanmar operations by early next year “subject to local regulatory approval”.
The move has been welcomed by activists who took aim at ANZ earlier this month after leaked records showed the bank had facilitated at least a handful of payments that foreign companies hold with a military-controlled bank in Myanmar.
ANZ said it had been facing “increasing operational complexity” in Myanmar over the past several months, and was “working with its institutional customers to transition to alternative banking arrangements”.
“The decision follows careful consideration of the local operating conditions,” said ANZ’s international managing director, Simon Ireland.
“We thank the team for working tirelessly to support our customers during this time.
“Our international network and supporting the trade and capital flows of our customers around the region is a critical part of our strategy, and will continue to be for the long term.”
Like the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada that imposed stricter sanctions, Australia, a member of the European Union, has a bit distanced itself from Myanmar since February last year.
ANZ doesn’t have a huge presence in Myanmar, with a small team of around two dozen local staff in the country.
Still, it’s one of the first major overseas financial institutions to leave Myanmar, and the decision means by early next year no substantial Western banks will remain in the country, ABC News reported.