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Private Banks Seize on Innovative Ideas to Win Customers

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Private Banks Seize on Innovative Ideas to Win Customers
Private Banks Seize on Innovative Ideas to Win Customers

Private banks in Iran have started to embrace innovative technologies more than ever, striving to address major issues on their path toward modernization and profitability.

These measures gained traction after the Central Bank of Iran’s decision to authorize the operation of fintech firms. 

At the same time, recent cuts in interest rates are preventing lenders from using “unconventional” methods to attract more savings. People are also showing more interest in using e-banking services, which push lenders to make the best of the new opportunities., a well-known website covering e-banking and payment issues, recently surveyed 100 bankers and experts on the key challenges facing the Iranian banking system in the next fiscal year (starting March 21, 2017). 

The majority of experts believed that modern technology, social media and customer relations should be the banks’ priorities in the next year. 

And true to that spirit, several new services have been launched by lenders in recent weeks. 

 On With Innovation 

Parsian Bank unveiled seven services last week, including a personal finance management, a new customers’ club platform, a virtual branch platform and a new cloud-based payment service.

“We cannot expect [customers] to refer to bank branches in the future,” Ahmad Jafari, Parsian’s deputy for IT, said.

“Parsian Bank is fully prepared to upgrade its services based on the newest technologies. Our new services are capable of attracting a considerable number of other banks’ customers toward our services.”

Bank Hekmat Iranian also launched three modern branches offering the full range of financial services, including banking, insurance and currency exchange, in a fully digital environment. 

Bank employees are also present at the branches, offering consultation to customers regarding their financial and legal needs.

“Traditional banking is now history,” Abbas Askarzadeh, the bank’s CEO, said. 

Bank Mellat also unveiled a new user-friendly version of its mobile application. The lender also unveiled a check management service, allowing users to get the services 24/7. 

Mellat holds the largest share of Iran’s payment market, with Beh Pardakht Mellat offering near-field communication payment services.

Shahr Bank, owned by municipalities across the country, unveiled a new generation of virtual teller machines that are capable of offline identification of users. 

The bank’s customers can access all banking and payment services through VTM machines without contacting the bank staff.

Iran Zamin Bank has also come up with new measures to expand innovative services. 

Speaking at a conference in the University of Tehran, Farhad Inalouei, Iran Zamin’s deputy for IT, announced that his bank is ready to offer an open banking platform to innovators and knowledge-based companies.

“Innovators would be able to sell their services through bank branches or launch a partnership with the bank,” he added.

Ayandeh Bank unveiled Iran’s first open banking portal for application programming interface last month, allowing innovators and customers to put their ideas into practice. The lender has managed to increase its revenues after taking the lead in developing user-friendly digital banking services.

Saman Bank and Bank Pasargad Iran, both among leading banks in offering electronic services, are also enhancing ties with fintechs. 

Saman recently acquired Bahamta, an Iranian application for management of micro-payments, and launched promotional campaigns for the application that was blocked by authorities due to their opposition to fintechs.

BPI is organizing a fintech festival in March and has called on innovators to participate in a 54-hour startup event where they can get help from experts and bankers for developing and marketing their ideas. 

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