EghtesadOnline: The Banker, the globally-recognized source of financial intelligence, has selected Ayandeh Bank as its top Iranian lender for the Bank of the Year Awards 2017.
The London-based publication in its annual report announced Ayandeh, a privately-run Tehran-based lender, as the Bank of the Year for Iran in 2017. The bank won the top spot by replacing Pasargad, another private bank that had been named Iran’s best bank for both 2015 and 2016.
According to The Banker’s report on its website, Ayandeh had a remarkable 2016, with profits up 315%, after rising just 14% in 2015. Tier 1 capital was up 139% and total assets rose 44% in local currency terms while the bank’s return on equity grew from 12% to 21%, according to Financial Tribune.
“With many of the international sanctions lifted from Iran in early 2016, the country’s banking sector has found a new lease of life, though storm clouds could be on the horizon with continuing regional tension and uncertainty over US policy toward the country,” the report said.
The Banker report noted that to find success in the Bank of the Year award, banks need to demonstrate not only resilience in their balance sheet and finances, but also trail-blazing achievements in overall strategy, success in multi-channel banking and financial inclusion. This year, the magazine granted awards in 141 countries.
Ayandeh Bank, established in June 2012 through the merger of Tat Bank, Salehin Credit Institution and Ati Credit Institution, has a 17% market share of deposits among private banks and credit institutions in Iran.
While its share of commercial bank deposits dropped from 18.5% in March 2015 to 12.54% in March 2017, its share of specialized banking deposits rose from 10.2% to 14.4% over the same period. The bank also ranks first among private banks in terms of its share of overall loans at 16%, the report indicates.
As mentioned by The Banker, embracing the post-sanction landscape, Ayandeh Bank recruited consultants from around the world to prepare a new study, based on which more than 10 projects have emerged, with the highest priority given to attracting new customer groups such as frequent travelers and Iranians living abroad.
In 2015, the bank cut its number of branches from 641 to 165 to create a more agile and responsive bank. It has also launched projects related to anti-bribery and corruption, anti-money laundering and due diligence, all based on the latest international standards.
In January 2017, Ayandeh Bank became the first Iranian bank to launch an open banking application programming portal aimed at helping developers create customized banking services.
Euromoney, a market research firm, had earlier granted its best bank transformation award for 2017 to Ayandeh for successfully accomplishing a merger of troubled banks to become one of Iran’s biggest private banks.