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A World of Networks: safety, reliability and convenience in Laos

ANZ’s network of 33 markets – big and small, advanced and emerging - is really critical to who and what we are as a bank. It's a defining point of difference for ANZ.

In this new series, ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott introduces some of the leaders in ANZ’s various markets to discuss the outlook for their region, opportunities for growth and what they love most about their job.

Click here to browse the full series

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Traversed by the Mekong river and known for its mountainous terrain, Laos is a country that is perhaps not as well-known as it should be. However, despite local challenges, ANZ’s business in Laos is an integral part of the economy and helps link large multinationals across the Asian region to Australia and New Zealand.

"There are many multinationals who bank with ANZ in other countries because of the support they get in challenging markets like Laos.” – Carli Renzi

I recently caught up ANZ’s Country Head for Laos Carli Renzi for our “World of Networks” series to discuss how the region is faring and what the future holds.

A wholly owned branch of ANZ Banking Group, the Laos business is purely focused on Institutional customers - supporting the movement of their goods and capital in and out of Laos and within the region.

According to Carli, the Laos business mainly looks after priority industries such as resources, food and beverages, auto and logistics and financial institutions.

“Largely [these customers] are from Europe, China, Japan, Korea and Thailand,” she explains. “However, what's interesting is that 70 per cent of the customers that book here in Laos also have a banking relationship with ANZ in our home markets of Australia and New Zealand.”

Carli says ANZ has a strong reputation as a safe, reliable and convenient bank to deal with in Laos.

“We're the only truly international bank here. And certainly the only AA- rated bank,” she explains.

According to Carli, Laos' ambition is to be the “battery of Asia” through its focus on hydroelectricity along the Mekong. Some of the region’s advantages include having the highest levels of arable land per capita in Asia. Laos also has a young population, with an average age of 24.

China’s One Belt, One Road initiative is also helping grow the economy in terms of investment into road and rail.

“Laos doesn't have a sea border so [this infrastructure] moves [the region] from being landlocked to landlinked so it can avail (itself) of some of our neighbouring countries' growth,” Renzi says.

Carli explains a key focus for ANZ’s Laos business is to enhance customer relationships across the rest of the network.

“There are many multinationals who bank with ANZ in other countries because of the support they get in challenging markets like Laos,” she says.

By capitalising on inclusive hiring and retention policies that might be overlooked by more traditional local banks and businesses in Laos, Carli believes ANZ has been able capture the top talent in the market.

“That gets recognised by our customers and stakeholders as well in independent surveys and awards. It's a 33-person team [here] and over half of them have worked for ANZ for more than 10 years. It's a really proud group of people.”

Shayne Elliott is CEO of ANZ

Click here to browse through the full “World of Networks” series

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