CBI Denies E-Banking Monopoly
The Central Bank of Iran is against monopolizing electronic banking and supports banks or entities that provide efficient services, the bank's governor said.
"The central bank backs the electronic services of all banks, on condition that they do not damage people's finances," Valiollah Seif was also quoted as saying by Banker.ir.
Denying allegations that CBI is standing in the way of robust banking activities by monopolizing the electronic banking industry, Seif said the bank is ready to support "anyone who claims to offer appropriate electronic banking services ".
Ayandeh Bank-affiliate eFarda, Bank Melli Iran's electronic banking platform BAM, Bank Refah's comprehensive financial management system SAMIM and Shahr Bank are currently some of the active players offering electronic banking services to Iranians.
eFarda has developed a customer loyalty platform and implemented "Iran Card", which is capable of offering services to cardholders after identifying their needs. Returning a portion of the transacted money to cardholders’ account is the main feature of the platform.
BAM offers a wide range of services in a user-friendly and highly-customized environment and has more than 600,000 users.
SAMIM allows customers to plan their income and expenditure.
Shahr Bank has developed a "Forex ATM" that allows users to exchange foreign currencies into Iranian rial at the open market rate, after affirming the cardholders’ identity.
As to the latest measures undertaken for providing mobile payment services, Seif said CBI is in charge of establishing infrastructures required to promote the sector.
The CBI will not establish mobile payment through telecommunications companies "but will do it through the cloud and we will probably unveil the start of mobile payment in the country next week", he added.
Asked about CBI's refusal to disclose the precise number of bank transactions, Seif said the figures have been officially published and if anyone finds them lacking, the matter will be followed up "and there will be no exceptions".
"The central bank knows what it is going to do to continuously improve services offered by banks and the part concerning information technology is also supported by CBI," he added.
According to the latest data released by Shaparak, the body in charge of Iran’s payment network, Iranians made 1.06 billion successful digital payment transactions worth 1.19 quadrillion rials ($30.8 billion) in the month ending December 20.
The report indicated a 31.17% growth in the number of successful digital transactions and a 46.7% growth in the value of electronic operations compared with the same period of last year.
According to Shaparak, 253,358 online gateways were active by December 21.
Questioned about CBI's nondisclosure of financial statements, Seif said, "I am surprised by this expectation because the central bank is not a commercial enterprise. Therefore, it does not need to publish its earnings report."
He noted that the bank is a state entity in charge of managing the country's monetary policies, stressing that the "central banks' revenues and losses are not commonly deemed as a barometer of its performance".
Seif, who also heads the Money and Credit Council, emphasized that if the performance of the central bank is linked to its incomes, it would undermine the bank and hurt the economy.
The annual meeting of CBI was held late February after an eight-month delay, during which the bank's balance sheet was approved.