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Laos moves on growing momentum to modernize financial institutions

VIENTIANE -- The central bank of Laos will modernize commercial banks as the country speeds up economic integration with the regional and global community.

According to Bank of Lao PDR (People's Democratic Republic) annual report, which was made available to Vientiane Times this week, the bank will modernize the services provided by commercial banks to enable them to integrate with international levels and standards.

Laos expects to be accepted as a member of the World Trade Organisation in October. Laos will also join the ASEAN Trade Area (AFTA) in 2015, which will create a single market of more than 600 million people where capital, goods and skilled labour flow freely throughout the region.

The planned regional and world economic integration of the Lao economy will not be a challenge if banks in Laos can provide secure, fast, reliable and safe money transactions, according to a bank official.

He said the central bank has spent about US$10 million to install modern banking IT infrastructure that will play a central role in providing more efficient transactions between commercial banks and between Lao banks and foreign banks.

The upgraded system will also enable the Lao Securities Exchange to provide electronic money transfer for share traders, and facilitate banks to join ATM pools, allowing customers to withdraw money from a greater number of ATMs, he said.

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