Economy, Business And Markets

Private Banks Add Essence to Rouhani Tour

Private Banks Add Essence to Rouhani TourPrivate Banks Add Essence to Rouhani Tour

The Iranian delegation’s visit to Italy and France demonstrated, among other things, an unprecedented level of cooperation between the government and private sector after a long lapse, Majid Qasemi, the CEO of Bank Pasargad said.

“Members of the Iran Chamber of Commerce who represented the private sector played an active role during the visit and many Italian and French companies were interested in establishing ties with them,” Qasemi was quoted as saying by ILNA at a press meeting on Saturday.

Bank Pasargad, Tourism Bank and the Export Development Bank of Iran were the three lenders accompanying President Hassan Rouhani on his three-nation European tour that also took him to the Vatican for a meeting with Pope Francis, leader of the Christian world.

“Bank Pasargad Iran will hold talks with Italian companies in the coming week and we will meet the Italian Insurance Company SACE with a focus on small businesses,” he said.

SACE and the Central Bank of Iran signed a settlement agreement for the recovery of the sovereign credit due to SACE by Iranian counterparties last week. The agreement provides for the payment to SACE of €564 million in three installments by October 15.

 French Interest  

Qasemi noted that French banks are planning a visit to Tehran and are currently communicating via email. The banker did not name the banks but Credit Agricole, Crédit Industriel et Commercial (CIC), Société Générale are the major French banks that have showed interest to restore ties with Iran.

Qasemi pointed to talks to establish BPI’s branches in Rome and Paris and said “We are waiting for CBI guidelines regarding this.”

“Iran’s banking system had been left behind due to the sanctions and we need to upgrade our banks to meet international norms,” he added.

 “It was interesting for the Europeans to know that an anti-money laundry law had been passed in Iran and banks are obliged to comply.”

BPI has launched corresponding relations with 25 foreign banks according to Qasemi and 40 others are awaiting “our plans to establish relations.”

The banker added that following the primary agreements in 2013, some Swiss, South Korean and Indian banks started banking relations with Pasargad.  “But now that the sanctions are lifted no bank has second thoughts about expanding relations with Iran.”

He said Iran by now should have been the region’s trade hub if banking sanctions were not imposed over the dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program.

Pointing to Iran’s major contracts signed during the presidential tour, Qasemi said, “Such contracts will not increase government’s foreign financial commitments.”

BPI had announced earlier that it is exploring the possibility of establishing a presence in Germany, Spain, Turkey and China, which could be in the form of wholly-owned branches, joint ventures with local partners or outright acquisitions.

The private lender grew domestically and is now the 11th largest listed firm by market value on Tehran’s stock exchange, and the second-biggest listed lender after Bank Mellat.