The first-ever multi foreign equity investment in Myanmar bank

Norfund has acquired 10% share in Yoma Bank, one of the largest private banks in Myanmar.

The investment

The acquisition is made together with an affiliate of GIC, Greenwood Capital Pte Ltd and is the first-ever, multi, foreign shareholding transaction in a local bank in Myanmar.

The investment is part of a capital restructuring plan to support Yoma Bank’s future growth, to improve its corporate governance and to accelerate its continual support to Myanmar entrepreneurs and business owners with long-term capital needs.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) converted its loan to Yoma Bank into equity in 2019. Today, the three international institutions represent 34% of shareholding in the bank. The total value of the transactions is around 90.3 million USD.

While the demand for credit solutions continues to grow, the new foreign investment will accelerate our investment into new technology, new partnerships and new ways of banking our target segments. This will help us to promote sustainable economic development in Myanmar

Dean Cleland, CEO of Yoma Bank

In addition to above transactions and subject to the completion of additional shares acquisition, First Myanmar Investment Company Limited (FMI) will also increase its shareholding in Yoma Bank to 61.99% and remains as the largest shareholder of Yoma Bank.

Need for increased access to financial services

Myanmar is one of Norfund’s priority countries and Norfund has been actively developing investment opportunities in the country since 2011.  Myanmar is a least-developed country with a population of around 54 million whereof 70% live in rural areas. The banking sector penetration is low. Only 26% of adults have an account at a formal financial institution (Global FINDEX Report 2017). The main source of financing for small entrepreneurs is still through informal lenders. Lack of access to capital is thereby a major barrier for small entrepreneurs to develop their businesses.

Focus on mobile financial services

With the country’s long-term economic development agenda, the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan 2018-30, the government has identified a number of strategies aimed at boosting liberalisation and financial inclusion. The government has intensified its focus on banking sector reforms, and the country’s rapid expansion in smartphone penetration has prompted a shift in focus towards mobile financial services products.

Yoma Bank is a dynamic, professionally-managed bank with a strategy that is in line with Norfund’s mandate.  We are pleased to be part of this rare investment opportunity in Myanmar and look forward to being an active investor


Yoma Bank is among top 5 banks in Myanmar, and it is widely considered as one of the most dynamic and professionally managed commercial banks in Myanmar. The growth strategy is technology centric with the goal of serving the mass market and SMEs. Over the past five years and a half, the Bank has impressively grown its loan book by 20 times – from 60 million USD in March 2013 to 1.185 billion USD in June 2019.