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EghtesadOnline: Banking ties with two major Austrian banks are being established, with Iranian banks establishing 22 correspondent relations only with Oberbank, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran said.

"Following the endeavors of Iranian and Austrian economic and banking officials, the two countries' central banks have now forged closer relations," Valiollah Seif was also quoted as saying by CBI's website during a meeting with his Austrian counterpart in Tehran.  Seif added that Iranian lenders also enjoy good relations with Raiffeisen Bank, another credible bank in the EU member state.  

Iran's top banking official met late Sunday with Austria's Finance Minister Hans Jorg Schelling and Governor of National Bank of Austria (OeNB) Ewald Nowotny on Sunday in Tehran to discuss expansion of mutual banking relations.       

Austria’s finance minister expressed satisfaction over the continuation of Vienna meetings in Tehran and described Iranian banks’ progress as very significant and emphasized its importance for his country, Financial Tribune reported.

“I hope over these meetings we’ll manage to discuss further details of our relations. The Austrian delegation, which has traveled to Iran with me, is a proof of our determination to accelerate the expansion of economic and banking connections,” Jorg said.

Jorg is leading a high-ranking Austrian delegation consisting of government officials, major banks and companies’ representatives who have traveled to Iran to promote bilateral trade, expand economic relations and resolve banking issues.

He also pointed to the educational programs conducted by OeNB and implemented through the Joint Vienna Institute for Iranian banking experts to promote their knowledge of Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism, which had given rise to great results.

“Another matter that underlines the decisiveness of Austria to extend its economic relations with Iran is opening an account for CBI in OeNB.”

Jorg earlier announced in his meeting with Iran’s Economy Minister Ali Tayyebnia that Oberbank, one of Austria’s biggest banks, has allocated a €1 billion ($910 million) line of credit to finance investment projects in Iran.

At his meeting with Seif, Jorg said there is no need to engage in preliminary talks anymore and “we should strive to implement our plans and achieve joint economic goals”.

  Bankers’ Meeting

Ewald Nowotny, OeNB’s governor, said a number of issues discussed during previous meetings have reached the implementation stage such as the educational program for Iranian bankers, which is being done perfectly and JVI has announced its willingness to improve the program.

“The history of Oberbank and Raiffeisen’s activities in Iran go back many years when Iran had not been hit with nuclear sanctions and today these two banks’ representatives are in Iran to assess the requirements of signing agreements, conditions of guaranteeing projects and opening accounts for Iranian banks,” he added.

The CBI governor said Iran’s banking system needs to comply with the latest international banking standards, especially those related to AML/CFT where good progress has been made so far and Iranian banks are gradually implementing the regulations–mostly those mandated by the International Financial Reporting Standards to improve transparency in financial statements.

Seif was part of the Iranian delegation headed by Tayyebnia who visited Vienna last year to discuss development of banking relations and improvement of economic ties.

“Since 2012, some 13 directives regarding the implementation of AML regulations have been notified to Iranian banks and now customers need to provide detailed information to open an account,” Seif said.

The CBI chief said AML regulations for banks will be fully revised in the next Money and Credit Council meeting and the requirements for the complete implementation of IFRS regulations will be met by Iran’s banking system.

The IFRS-based balance sheet templates were first released by CBI in February to improve financial transparency and the international operations of Iranian banks. Lenders are now required to report their statements in line with IFRS guidelines. 

Iran Banking Valiollah Seif Central Bank of Iran Iran banks Oberbank Iran-Austria banking