The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms & Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.
Southeast Asia

Myanmar banking: When there’s a coup there’s a way – to withdraw

Myanmar’s banking system has been on life support since the coup on February 1, with normal business grinding to a halt. But what’s replaced it feels like a slow-motion bank run that’s chaotic and corrupt.

Source: STR/AFP via Getty Images

Four months into a military coup, Myanmar’s banking system is slowly being strangled, thanks to tight restrictions on cash withdrawals, transfers and payments, leading to economic paralysis.

“It’s a slow-motion bank run. If the banks were fully open, they would’ve been emptied a long time ago,” says one financier.

For decades under military rule, the banking system was an antiquated mess. A fledgling democracy opened the door to financial reforms and limited foreign investment, but even before the coup on February 1, most banks were barely through the early stages of modernisation.

Since then the Tatmadaw, as Myanmar’s feared military is known, has brought in punishing policy-on-the-hoof measures aimed at avoiding a systemic meltdown, but which have smothered the financial system.

Under the Central Bank of Myanmar’s (CBM) mandated limits since the coup, banks have been forced to cap withdrawals at $120 a day for retail accounts. The limit is higher for business accounts, but as one businessman tells Asiamoney, “most have never bothered with these accounts, they are running their trading business through their personal accounts”.

Myanmar’s military, led by army general Min Aung Hlaing, seized control of the country this year.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree