Eyes of international banks to Iraq amid many questions

Posted: August 2, 2013 in Iraqi Dinar/Politics
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With tens of millions of potential customers who have only a few of them bank accounts, it has become Iraq represents an ambitious target of banking institutions, especially that the Iraqis are now looking to banking services is greater than those available to them.

However, the long-standing laws, and the majority of banks controlled by the government, and weak infrastructure for this sector, in addition to a huge number of other obstacles, political Kaerak ongoing and deteriorating security situation, make the banking activity in the country is not guaranteed results.

He says a Western diplomat told AFP «It is very likely that Iraq is a rich market for banking. He returned to talk about the Iraqi market during the past few weeks, after starting the major banks, including Citibank »and» Stnadrd Chartered, moving in an attempt to consolidate its presence in Iraq.

Giant rises
Says owner مايانك, bank manager Citi Bank in Jordan, Iraq, AFP, «we look to Iraq as the next biggest target», adding that «we see in Iraq, preparing for the advancement of giant». The «consider ourselves among the top candidates, and we want to have the priority. The bank will Citi Bank initially to serve existing customers, who are working within the energy companies, which operate in the oil-rich fields. But in the long term, the multinational bank will seek to go to commercial banking and service sectors, although no timetable has not put in place until now. He holds Citi Bank have high hopes for Iraq, which the bank economists predict that Iraq has a population of 50 million people, the economy, worth about $ 2 trillion by 2050.

The latter figure represents 15 times the current capacity of the economy, and roughly equivalent to the size of India’s economy. With the development of the sector, to become full banking services are required, since the Iraqis are currently limited opportunities in obtaining loans, insurance, credit cards, mortgages and other services.

Obstacles
The owner shows optimism about the potential of the banking sector in Iraq, waving fundamental obstacles to the development of this sector. At a time in which it decided Citi Bank to open an office in Iraq last month, the Bank «HSBC announced later that it was withdrawing from the Bank ‘Dar es Salaam’ local, who owns 70 percent of its shares.

A spokesman for «HSBC» that «at this stage we can not provide more details about the process of change and timing. But diplomats and analysts pointed to a number of difficulties, including a lack of modern systems to give Iraqis confidence in the banking process. Even Iraqis, who have bank accounts, they are not able to use the ATM or online bank services or even the ability to access their accounts from different branches of the same bank. And some credit cards issued, but there are no places accept to deal with it.

Advanced technology required
A Western diplomat says that «the conditions are not well suited to engage in individual banking. Often local businesses complain that banks are unwilling to lend, or it demanding assurances expensive and unacceptable. And the withdrawal of the World Bank estimates, the Iraqi bank credit amounted to less than ten percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010. For comparison, that figure was about 55 percent in the rest of the Middle East. Thamer Ghadban says chief advisers of the Iraqi Prime Minister «should avoid accumulation of cash within the government banks, but the use of funds for lending to be part of the system of the private sector. He adds huffy required «better technology, as well as reductions in processing times, leaves and staffing levels.

There is also a need to change the attitude toward customers. He explained that «the bank’s employees do not provide them the service, but the situation on the contrary, ‘he said, adding’ they must attract customers, not push them to go out.

Even Iraqis who have bank accounts, they are not able to use the ATM or online bank services or even the ability to access their accounts from different branches of the same bank. And some credit cards issued, but there are no places accept to deal with it.

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