EghtesadOnline: Bank Melli Iran is planning to overhaul its European branches after clearing the procedures both inside the country and abroad, the director of BMI's Department for Foreign Exchange said.
Noting that BMI has held negotiations with European officials to enhance its presence in that continent, Gholamreza Panahi added that the bank's Najaf branch (in neighboring Iraq) is also ready to launch and expand the bank's network in East Asia.
"The Hamburg branch is now BMI's major correspondent in Europe through which the bank can offer services to other parts of the world as well," Panahi was also quoted as saying by IBENA.
Mir Business Bank, BMI’s subsidiary in Russia also started offering services to businesses back in summer. However, the service was reportedly only offered to major businesses, including petrochemical exporters, Financial Tribune reported.
BMI's branch in Germany and Melli Bank Plc located in London are also connected to Target 2 (an interbank payment system for the real-time processing of cross-border transfers throughout the European Union), but presently they only offer a limited number of services.
"After the lifting of sanctions and following intensive meetings with foreign banks, we managed to fully establish correspondent relations with 25 of them," Panahi added.
Panahi, who is also BMI's board member, said establishing correspondent relations with each new bank means connecting to a banking network that makes it possible to benefit from their wide range of services.
"BMI is ready to deepen its correspondent relations and guarantee foreign investments in Iran," he added.
The official also said BMI was the first Iranian bank to be reconnected to Swift, the international interbank messaging network, after the sanctions were lifted in January last year.
Panahi emphasized the conformity of the bank's financial statement with International Financial Reporting Standards, as it is the common language of global banking system.
IFRS are a single set of accounting standards, developed and maintained by the International Accounting Standards Board for application on a globally consistent basis by developed, emerging and developing economies.
These standards help provide investors and other users of financial statements with the ability to compare the financial performance of publicly-listed companies on a like-for-like basis with their international peers.
After the lifting of sanctions imposed on Iran’s banking system, the necessity of conforming to IFRS was crucial to ease and speed up the process of absorbing foreign capital.
IFRS standards are now mandated for use by more than 120 countries, including the European Union and by more than two-thirds of G20 states.
Since the removal of international banking restrictions in January, Tehran has secured links with only a limited number of banks as US sanctions remain in force and large foreign institutions still fear potential fines.
Banks remain nervous after US penalties including a $9 billion fine on France's BNP Paribas in 2014, partly for violating financial sanctions imposed in 2012.