South Korean lender Hana Bank said Monday it has established a microfinance institution in Myanmar, joining in the global competition to tap into the impoverished country that has launched dramatic reforms to open up its economy.

The Hana Financial Group affiliate held the opening ceremony of “Hana Microfinance” in Hlegu Township, a rural community northeast of Yangon, over the weekend with around 300 government officials and local residents attending, according to a press release.

Hana Microfinance, the first overseas microfinance unit established by a Korean bank, plans to extend small-sum loans under 500,000 won ($485) to residents of 23 townships across Myanmar.

“The microfinance unit is set to boost Hana Bank’s corporate image in Myanmar and potentially help the bank’s long-term goal of entering the local banking industry,” a Hana Bank official said by phone.

Link: http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140804000856