Economy, Business And Markets

Role of Specialized Banks Highlighted

Role of Specialized Banks Highlighted Role of Specialized Banks Highlighted

Iran’s five specialized banks have an aggregate capital of 98 trillion rials ($3.6 billion), or 22% of the total capital of banks.

Ali Ashraf Afkhami, CEO of the Bank of Industry and Mine, told a banking seminar in Tehran on Tuesday that the average capital adequacy ratio (CAR) of specialized lenders now stands at 7.5%.

Basel II standards require the minimum acceptable CAR for banks to be 12%, but that ratio is about 4.5% for commercial banks in Iran. The central bank is striving to fill the gap.

“Bank Keshavarzi (agro bank), Bank Maskan (housing bank), Export Development Bank of Iran, Bank of Industry and Mine plus the Cooperatives Development Bank of Iran account for 36% of the loans made by the banking sector,” he was quoted as saying by ILNA.

In a bid to bolster the role of development banks, officials recently announced plans to convert Maskan into a development bank, a move that can help address problems hurting the key housing market.

Afkhami added that the specialized banks’ assets are worth $75 billion, which is 3.2% of the total holdings of domestic banks.

Afkhami also pointed to the key role of specialized banks in contributing to economic growth and called for a capital increase for the lenders to enable them offer cheap loans with a longer payback period.

“Regulations need to be tweaked to help develop specialized banks, for instance by giving their executives more decision-making authority,” Afkhami added.

Of the 30 banks operating in the country, three are commercial government-owned banks, five specialized government-owned banks, 20 private-sector banks and two are Qarzol-Hasana (microcredit) banks.