EghtesadOnline: Central bank governors of Iran and Syria on Monday discussed bilateral banking issues and prospects for setting-up a joint bank to facilitate financial ties.
The two sides reviewed banking agreements between the two nations signed in the recent past and exchanged views on how best to put them into operation.
Conferring with his Syrian counterpart, Hazem Karfoul, in Tehran, governor of the Central Bank of Iran Abdolnasser Hemmati emphasized that expansion of banking relations has CBI support, according to Financial Tribune.
“Economic ties between Iran and Syria have entered a new phase,” the CBI website quoted him as saying.
“Recent banking agreements carry a significant message for companies… It is a big step forward for boosting trade between the two countries,” he said.
Hemmati said Iran is ready to help the war-ravaged country and offer services in banking technology, including currency printing and electronic payment systems.
In January Syria and Iran signed 11 agreements, memoranda of understanding and an executive program to boost bilateral cooperation in the economic, cultural, scientific, infrastructure, services, investment and housing fields.
Iranian representatives in the meeting discussed launching the Iranian electronic financial messaging system to facilitate banking transactions between the banks in the two countries.
The mechanism, known as SEPAM (a Persian acronym), currently functions as a venue through which inter-bank transactions are conducted electronically.
It is similar to the Belgium-based financial messaging service SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication). The international network enables financial institutions worldwide to send and receive information about financial transactions in a secure, standardized and reliable environment.
Under mounting pressures from the United States, the global financial messaging system was forced to cut off Iran’s access last year.
Iranian lenders also exchanged view with the Syrians on how to enforce past agreements.
They focused particularly on executive issues for launching the joint bank, using local currencies in bilateral trade, boosting credit for schemes jointly run by banks and launching a joint debit card payment system aimed to enabling citizens of the two countries to use payment cards during visits.
Pointing to past banking hurdles between the two countries, Syria’s senior banker said “the long-desired wish to expand two-way banking ties is coming true”.