Economy, Business And Markets

Parliament to Review Banking Bill in Spring

Parliament to Review Banking Bill in Spring  Parliament to Review Banking Bill in Spring

The updated version of the Banking Reform Bill, a blueprint for undertaking major reforms in the banking sector, will at last be taken up in the parliament ‘s spring session, announced the head of Majlis Economic Commission.

“The final and updated draft of the Banking Reform Bill will be finalized in the parliament in [the Iranian month of] Ordibehesht (starting April 20),” Mohammad Reza Pour-Ebrahimi was also quoted as saying by Fars News Agency.

The official, who was speaking in the 64th panel between the government and the private sector, added that “with the coordination of the government and the Central Bank of Iran, the [the new] Usury-Free Banking Bill will be ratified in the parliament after 33 years”.

The Banking Reform Bill is the new name given to the vastly outdated Usury-Free Banking Law that has not been reviewed or revised in the decades after the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 even though it was mentioned in the original draft of the law that it must be subject to changes every few years.

The bill defines the duties of banks and non-bank credit institutions and decrees that they must obtain a license from CBI. It explains all banking operations and services, as well as regulations for the establishment of branches of foreign banks, and sets limits to their investments.

It also obliges credit institutions to provide information, set up a professional set of criteria for selecting new chief executives and board members, and make provision for setting up internal risk and auditing committees.

Pour-Ebrahimi said the review of fiqh (jurisprudential) and Islamic aspects of the bill has started and noted that the general aspects of the bill were approved by his commission in early autumn. He added that the details of the bill are now being reviewed by specialized taskforces and “its preliminary draft is ready”.

“Last month, a delegation from the commission presented the bill to senior Shia authorities known as Marja (sources of emulation) in the holy city of Qom,” he said. “We hope that in the next three months, the bill will be presented in the open session of the parliament and reaches a conclusion.”

The official welcomed the private sector to offer insights regarding the bill that also defines banking contracts and the legal status of the newly-formed Association of Banks, launches credit rating institutions and outlines lending and capital adequacy capacities.

Pour-Ebrahimi had previously said the bill will be approved by the parliament by the end of the current fiscal year in March.

Last week, he said chances of the bill’s finalization by the end of President Hassan Rouhani’s first term in the summer were slim.

The lawmaker had also threatened that the Majlis will come up with its own version of the much-disputed Banking Reform Bill if the government fails to deliver it on time.

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