YANGON , Jan. 24 -- ( Kyodo ) _ Mizuho Bank Ltd. has signed a business partnership deal with Myanmar's Ayeyarwady Bank to enlist the latter's support in helping Japanese companies establish a presence in the Southeast Asian country, a source familiar with the matter said Friday. Mizuho, one of Japan's three biggest commercial lenders, is following its peers, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. , which have linked up with commercial banks to provide business intelligence and introduce clients in Myanmar , where foreign entities are not yet allowed to conduct banking operations. Mizuho, which opened a Myanmar office in April 2012 , signed a memorandum of understanding with Ayeyarwady, a banking unit of an emerging business group in the country, in December on exchanging information and customer referral, the source said. Mizuho withheld the announcement of this business tie-up after it was revealed that one of its consumer loan units was lending money to gangsters. The Myanmar bank also did not make it public. Besides the three biggest banks, other Japanese institutions have been stepping up cooperation with Myanmar in developing financial and capital markets. The Financial Services Agency has signed a note with Myanmar's Finance Ministry to help develop financial and capital markets by providing know-how, agency officials said Friday. Daiwa Institute of Research Holdings Ltd. is also backing efforts at setting up a securities exchange in the country.
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