Includes special features of this country’s banking system and rules/laws that might impact U.S. business.

In 2017 credit growth slowed to approximately 11 percent, down from 21 percent at the end of 2016.  New private and foreign banks provide modern banking options to Lao and foreign businesses, with a total of 39 banks licensed in Laos.  Laos does not have a national deposit insurance system and supervisory standards are low.  Technical expertise and the range of services offered at domestic banks are limited, though several local banks are expanding into internet banking, e-wallets, and making efforts to capture the significant “unbanked” portion of the Lao population.  While it continues to receive outside assistance, the Bank of Lao PDR engages in weak supervision of the sector.

According to the Asia Pacific/Regional Review Group’s visit in April 2017, the regional arm of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the government has advanced in strengthening its anti-money laundering (AML) regime. As a result of the Lao government’s steps to improve the legal and regulatory AML framework, including drafting a new AML/Counter Financing of Terrorism law, FATF removed Laos from its “gray list” of banking jurisdictions in June 2017.  However, enforcement of rules and regulations is weak but improving, and lingering concerns may continue to affect the ease with which international banking transactions are conducted in Laos.  Laos’ next FAFT assessment will be in 2020.

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Laos Market Access Banks