Economy, Business And Markets

Bank Mellat Gains Foothold in Georgia, Malaysia

Mellat Bank CJSC in Yerevan, Armenia.
Mellat Bank CJSC in Yerevan, Armenia.

Bank Mellat, one of the leading privatized lenders in Iran, will launch a subsidiary and a branch in Malaysia and Georgia respectively in the next two months, announced the bank’s chief executive.

“Enhancing operations in international markets has been a priority of Bank Mellat in the post-sanctions era … We have established correspondent relations with 130 banks across the world [since the sanctions’ removal in mid-January],” Hadi Akhlaqi was also quoted as saying by on Sunday.

“We have also revised our customer services programs to meet their needs,” he added.

Iran plans to boost trade with both Malaysia and Georgia in the coming months.

Some of Bank Mellat’s subsidiaries and branches have restarted operations since the removal of sanctions, namely Persia International Bank plc in London, which is jointly owned by Mellat and Tejarat Bank. Bank Mellat reportedly has joined the TARGET2 system, too.

TARGET2 is an interbank payment system for the real-time processing of cross-border transfers throughout the European Union.

Three branches of Mellat in Turkey, one each in Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir, also began operations in February. The bank launched its first branch in Turkey in 1982, but it had to temporarily cease operations when sanctions on Iran’s banking sector intensified in 2012.

Back in October, it was announced that Yerevan-based Mellat Bank CJSC, fully owned by Iran’s Bank Mellat, increased its authorized capital in compliance with the new requirement of the Central Bank of Armenia. The bank also opened its new headquarters in Yerevan.

Akhlaqi said Mellat has established a specific department to help adjust operations with international standards.

“We also developed efficient mechanisms to implement the needed changes in the bank, in order to regain [our] international partners’ trust,” he said.

“Bank Mellat has managed to double its forex revenues in the past four months.

Akhlaqi noted that his bank accounts for 30% of total forex guarantees and 38% of export guarantees issued by the Iranian banking sector.

Mellat currently has 1,900 branches inside the country and provides services to more than 30 million customers.

Beh Pardakht Mellat, a subsidiary of Mellat specializing in payment services, has the largest share in Iran’s payment market. The subsidiary is ranked 23rd in Nilson Report’s latest ranking of the world’s top acquirers with about 2 billion transactions during 2015, more than any other company in the Middle East.

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