Seven major banks in Laos signed a memorandum of understanding on April 22 to establish the Lao National Payment Network (LAPNet) company for a faster, reliable and more convenient payment system.
Participating banks are the Lao foreign trade bank BCEL, Lao Development Bank, Agricultural Promotion Bank, Lao-Viet Joint Venture Bank, Joint Development Bank, ST Bank, and BIC Bank.
LAPNet is set to continue employing the Loan Application Processing System (LAPS) provided by the Lao state bank BOL. As such, customers can use credit cards and deposits in transactions via the ATM and CDM systems, including checking account balance, withdrawing cash, or transferring money.
In the long run, the company aims at developing a payment infrastructure for inter-bank transactions via multiple channels like QR Code and Internet-Mobile Banking.
The company has nine shareholders, with a 25 percent share held by BOL worth US$1 million, while Banque pour le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public (BCEL) owns a 20 percent share (US$800,000) and UnionPay International holds a 15 percent stake (US$600,000).
In addition, the Lao Development Bank (LDB) and Agricultural Promotion Bank (APB) each have a 10 percent shareholding of US$400,000.
The Joint Development Bank (JDB), Lao-Viet Joint Venture Bank, ST Bank, and BIC Bank (Lao) Co., Ltd. each have a 5 percent shareholding worth US$200,000.
According to the BOL, local use of cash has faced difficulties, while the cost of printing paper currency is increasing. The use of cash is also considered a cause of social problems like robbery and corruption. The establishment of LAPNet is expected to help curb such issues