WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama is lifting the U.S. restriction on international financial institutions like the World Bank lending to Myanmar to reward its progress toward democracy.

The administration has now eased virtually all the sanctions that were imposed on country also known as Burma during its decades of oppressive military rule.

Late last month, Congress passed legislation allowing the president to end the automatic U.S. block on lending by institutions also including Asian Development Bank.

Obama on Wednesday authorized Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to support such assistance.

The World Bank says it is working with the Asian Development Bank to help Myanmar clear about $900 million in arrears to both institutions by early 2013 that would allow lending to restart.

The last loans were extended in the late 1980s.