Malaysia, Thailand central banks call for Qualified Asean Bank candidates

KUALA LUMPUR: Bank Negara and the Bank of Thailand are inviting banking institutions in their respective countries to indicate their interest to be a Qualified Asean Bank (QAB).

This is pursuant to the bilateral arrangements of the Asean Banking Integration Framework (ABIF), which form part of the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS).

In a joint press release issued on Tuesday, the banking regulators said a successful QAB candidate will enjoy market access and operational flexibilities accorded under the bilateral arrangement.

The QABs are envisioned to facilitate greater intra-Asean trade and investment in the region, in accordance with the Asean Economic Community Blueprint 2025 that aims to create an integrated and highly cohesive Asean economy, it said.

According to the statement, a QAB candidate, whether a new entrant or an existing bank, must be a strong and well-managed bank that has its interest endorsed by the home country's regulator and comply with the host country's prudential requirements

This is to ensure the financial stability of both countries, it added.

The bilateral arrangement is a significant milestone in the journey towards ASEAN financial integration as envisioned under the ABIF initiative. Recently, Bank Negara and the Bank of Thailand also launched the Cross-Border QR Payment Linkage between Thailand and Malaysia.

"This bilateral arrangement signifies the strengthening of economic ties between Malaysia and Thailand, and it is set to benefit the people of both countries where they will be able to enjoy better banking convenience as well as access to a wider range of banking products.

“We are taking great strides towards creating an integrated and cohesive ASEAN economy, and we are confident that the QAB arrangement will foster more business opportunities and economic activities between the two countries to facilitate both our economic recoveries amidst the ongoing pandemic," said Bank Negara governor Nor Shamsiah Yunus.

Bank of Thailand governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput added that the arrangement marks another important milestone in the long-standing partnership between the two countries as well as Asean's efforts towards deeper regional financial integration.

"The arrangement will bring about a wider range of high quality financial products that will better serve the needs of businesses and consumers in both countries.

“It is our aspiration to see QAB arrangements pave the way for further financial cooperation among ASEAN members as the region embraces new financial innovations," he said.
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