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Burma’s Kanbawza Bank (KBZ) signed a memorandum of understanding with Thailand’s Kasikorn Bank in Rangoon on Wednesday to introduce remittance services for migrant workers in both countries.
Worawut Wesaratchakit, senior vice president of Kasikorn Bank, told the Irrawaddy that the remittance service was expected to begin during the first quarter of 2017 as further details needed to be discussed.
“Most migrants have to go to bank branches to send money, which is not convenient. They use agents, which is unregulated, unsafe, and costs at least 10 percent of the money being sent,” he said.
He added that the new service would be easier and cheaper than the one currently used by agents.
There are an estimated 3 million Burmese migrant workers in Thailand.
Many of those workers currently use informal channels to send money home, bank officials said.
U Win Lwin, managing director of KBZ’s international banking division, said the new service will pose less risk for migrant workers.
“By partnering with Kasikorn Bank, we can ensure the protection of people’s remittances,” he said.
The transfers will be arranged via a mobile application. According to Kasikorn Bank, senders will be able to monitor transfers and clearly see when the money reaches the receiver’s account.
The service will be linked to the full features of KBZ’s online banking system and a savings scheme as well.
One of the largest private commercial banks in Burma, KBZ Bank was established in 1994 in the Shan State capital, Taunggyi. International representative offices have opened in Thailand and Singapore currently. KBZ opened a representative office in Bangkok in May.
Thailand’s Kasikorn Bank was founded in 1945 and operates more than 1,000 branches across Thailand and 16 overseas offices.