One of Burma’s leading banks, Cooperative Bank (CB), has forged an alliance with Japan’s Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU), the largest bank in Japan, according to various media sources. A joint development of banking services has been agreed under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed on December 27 between the two banks. Through this alliance, BTMU aims to support foreign companies considering expanding into Burma, officially known as Myanmar, and offer technical assistance to CB in areas such as trade, finance and foreign exchange, said a statement from the Japanese firm.

“This is the first MoU between the two banks,” said Phay Mint, CB Bank’s managing director. “They [BTMU] will help us in the banking service, e-banking service, foreign exchange service, trade service, commercial learning and technical [matters]. Technicians and experts will come to support us.”

Established in 1992 when private banks were permitted to operate once again in Burma, CB launched the first ever ATM cash withdrawal service in the country in November, one which accepts the international credit cards of VISA and MasterCard.

Since opening its representative office in Burma in 1954, BTMU has acted as an agent for the Japanese government’s Official Development Assistance, providing loans and grant aid to Burma.

Japan is Burma’s largest creditor, but it has offered to write off Burma’s debt and instead provide the country with a fresh loan of 50 billion yen (US $600 million) which would support development projects for Burma’s border-based ethnic groups, the construction of the Thilawa deep-sea port, the hosting of the 2013 Southeast Asian Games, and Burma’s chairmanship of ASEAN in 2014.

The Central Bank of Myanmar recently permitted 17 foreign banks to open representative offices. Among them were Japan’s DBS Bank, BTMU and Mizuho Corporate Bank, according to official media.