Economy, Business And Markets

Saman Bank to Hold General Meeting

Saman Bank to Hold General MeetingSaman Bank to Hold General Meeting

Saman Bank will convene its general shareholders’ meeting on July 15, Iranian Banker news website reported on Monday.

The bank’s shares have dropped 6% during the past year, as it had to negotiate a depressed money market and falling stocks.

Saman is the leading Iranian bank in e-banking and using new banking data networks. It launched the first Internet banking service in Iran and has been at the forefront of expansion of electronic banking.

The bank’s general meeting was given a 10-day break and will take place on Wednesday in central Tehran.

Saman’s shares are traded on the Iran Fara Bourse, the over-the-counter market, but the bank has not been accepted into the exchange yet, as it has not met the IFB’s criteria. The lender’s shares were closed at 1,544 rials and trading will resume after the general meeting is held.

The lender has a 12.3 trillion-rial ($381 million at market exchange rate) market capitalization with eight billion floating shares.

Its chief executive will present his bank’s financial statements and management report to the shareholders in the meeting.

Saman has been the official sponsor of Iran’s national volleyball team since 2013.

The European Connection

Gholamali Kamyab, the central bank’s vice governor for foreign exchange affairs, said Saman was one of the seven Iranian banks connected to SWIFT—Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication—on Saturday.

Belgium-based SWIFT, which facilitates the bulk of global cross-border payments, disconnected designated Iranian financial firms from its messaging system in March 2012, after European regulators ordered the company to do so.

The move was part of EU sanctions over Iran’s nuclear energy program and a step that shut down a major avenue through which Iran did business with the rest of the world.

But not all banks were disconnected, though the Central Bank of Iran’s expulsion from SWIFT made it hard for them to do business. Saman, Parsian, Pasargad, Middle East and Day banks are private or publicly-owned lenders linked to the network. State-owned Maskan and Keshavarzi banks are also connected to SWIFT, according to Kamyab.

 A Growing Business

Saman started its activities as a credit institution in September 1999. It received a full banking license and changed its name to Saman Bank in August 2002. It was the third private financial institution in post-revolutionary Iran to receive a banking license.

The lender is focusing mainly in Tehran, with more than half its branches located in the 12-million-strong  capital.

However, Saman has expanded its operations over the years and is part of the Saman Financial Group, which owns nine subsidiary companies it launched or acquired a substantial stake between 2003 and 2012.

These subsidiaries are Saman Brokerage, Saman Insurance, Saman Exchange, Saman Processing, Saman Kish Electronic Payment, Saman Satellite Communications Group, Iranian Credit Bureau & Scoring, Aftab Tejarat Saman Servicing, and Kardan Investment Bank. Kardan is jointly owned by three commercial banks, namely Tejarat, Saman and Middle East.