EghtesadOnline: A new report by Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture highlights the fact that Iran’s banks and credit institutions have too many branches compared to both international and regional counterparts.
The report published on TCCIM’s website uses data from the World Bank and the Central Bank of Iran to highlight the discrepancy between bank branches in Iran and across the world, especially in the Middle East and North Africa.
WB data show there were 12.5 bank branches in the world for every100,000 adults in 2016 while the same number for Iran in that year stood at 31.3. Iran’s average is also more than double MENA’s average at 14.7 bank branches for every 100,000 adults.
In comparison, figures show that Turkey, Iran’s neighbor and ally, had 18.1 bank branches for the aforesaid number of people while the same number for China stood at 8.8, according to Financial Tribune.
On the other hand, latest figures released by CBI show that a total of 20,598 bank branches were active by the end of the first quarter of the current fiscal year on July 21. Taking into account Iran’s adult population, the average number of bank branches for every 100,000 Iranian adults stands at 29, which is consistent with WB numbers.
Last month, the Statistical Center of Iran published a report saying there was one bank branch for every 3,413 Iranians in the fiscal 2016-17. The center said the number of per capita branches has increased by 42% compared to 15 years ago, as there was one branch for every 3,963 Iranians in the fiscal 2001-2. These numbers are also consistent with WB numbers.
To reach the global average, Iran must bring down the total number of its branches to 8,868, which means eliminating a whopping 11,730 branches. To reach the MENA average, a total of 10,169 branches must be closed to bring the total number of branches to 10,429. To reach the average among countries with upper medium incomes, Iran must slash the number of its bank branches to 10,713, which means doing away with 9,885 branches.