Economy, Business And Markets

Forum With Europeans to Appraise Banking Ties

Forum With Europeans to Appraise Banking TiesForum With Europeans to Appraise Banking Ties

The second Iran-Europe Business Forum will be held in Tehran on March 5-7, said Ali Divandari, head of Iran’s Monetary and Banking Research Institute.

“The meeting will review ways to improve ties between Iranian lenders and their foreign counterparts. Sixty foreign delegates will participate, including representatives from France, England, Italy and Germany,” he was quoted as saying by ILNA.

Divandari, who was speaking at a press conference, added that representatives from the ministries of trade, oil, roads and urban development, and energy—who have projects that are attractive for foreign investment—will be in attendance.

The senior official stated that the CEOs of two German banks and representatives from Germany’s BaFin, Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, will be among the participants. “To familiarize domestic banks with international banking norms we need to expand ties with European lenders and consulting companies.”

CBI governor, Valiollah Seif, was in Frankfurt to participate in the Iran- Europe Business Forum from Nov.17-20. He had called upon the Federal Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schauble and requested he help prepare the grounds for reconnecting banks in the two countries. He also met Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank and Jens Weidmann, president of the Deutsche Bundesbank and participated in closed-door meetings with 60 top European bankers.

Divandari said Iran’s banking and trade relations with Germany, Italy and France have a long history and more efforts should be made to revitalize ties with the European lenders. “The conference can be a good step toward reenergizing bilateral ties with Europeans.”

 Anti-Money-Laundering Measures

A number of anti- money-laundering laws exist in Iran but tracking dirty money is a monumental task and so far there is a lack of a comprehensive system in the country to track suspicious activities in the money market, according to Divandari. He stated that all those involved in the key banking sector should be “determined” to fight money-laundering.

“Presently anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism laws are of high importance in the international banking arena. We have submitted a bill (to parliament) in this regard and are hopeful the Guardian Council will approve it.”

 Upgrading Services

The senior official pointed to the extended international sanctions and recalled that it had isolated Iranian banks from the international banking network.

Iranian banks should upgrade their laws and upgrade services in order to be prepared for meaningful relations with their European counterparts.

Exaggerations about the health of Iran’s economy and the decade-plus sanctions have made European lenders rather hesitant in renewing ties with Iranian lenders according to Divandari. “Iran’s image has been tarnished and it will take time for that to heel. We have to try (hard) and reconnect to International banking  networks in order to upgrade our banking sector.”

Asked about a possible deal with Visa and Master Card, Divandari said it is possible that agreements would be reached with the two top credit card companies.

Recently a Japanese and a Chinese company active in credit card business have showed willingness to enter Iran’s market for credit cards.