Economy, Business And Markets

Bank Melli Getting Ready to Restart UK Business

Bank Melli Getting Ready  to Restart UK BusinessBank Melli Getting Ready  to Restart UK Business

Measures have been taken to reopen Bank Melli PLC London, Hassan Zaferani, CEO of the bank said on Saturday. He added that the UK banking system has authorized PLC to resume its activities.

Zaferani pointed to the lifting of international sanctions on January 16, saying the UK Treasury announced within two days it had lifted sanctions on Iranian banks.

"Following that  move, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority issued the required certificates to Bank Melli PLC,”  he said.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is a financial regulatory body in the United Kingdom, but operates independently of the government, and is financed by charging fees from members of the financial services industry.

The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) is responsible for the prudential supervision and regulation of banks, building societies, credit unions, insurers and investment firms.

The senior official highlighted the reconnection to the international inter-bank transaction system (SWIFT) as vital to the process of reengaging with the international banking system.  “The final step for resuming the UK activities is establishing correspondent banking relations with big European and British lenders,” he added.

European Caution

PLC officials have been holding talks with several European and British banks but so far nothing is finalized, according to Zaferani. “The European and British banks’ MoUs with their American peers have made them a bit cautious in reestablishing relations with Iranian banks.” However, he says that he is positive that PLC can reconnect to big lenders soon and that it will use  political channels to help accelerate the process.

“We need an MoU with one of the ten big banks in order to be able to connect to the “clearing” system once again.

Bank Melli PLC came under sanctions in August 2008 and its activities in England were halted. The bank has a long history in London and was involved in the world's top financial district since 1967 before being restricted eight years ago.

It is expected that the International Persia Bank will also resume its activities in London due to the lifting of sanctions. Mohammadreza Mesgarian, CEO of the bank said last week the lender will resume its activities in London in the coming weeks.

Persia bank was created from the merger of Bank Mellat and Tejarat branches in London. Its activities were restricted in July 2010 under the sanctions’ regime.