EghtesadOnline: Managers of Post Bank of Iran should put greater focus on promoting smart banking and digital economy by involving fintechs and startups, Information and Communication Technologies Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi said in a statement on the occasion of the bank's 24th anniversary on Sunday.
Jahromi said PBI is expected to further strengthen the role of ICT in the banking sector and put the evolution of modern and smart banking on the agenda, the ministry's website reported.
According to the statement, BPI will boost the quality of its services and expand its presence in rural and underdeveloped areas.
Jahromi emphasized that the bank will accelerate its progress by giving more opportunities to tech units and knowledge-based companies for increasing their electronic banking operations, according to Financial Tribune.
"Today, the share of tech-based firms in the domestic economy is increasing day by day. Banks, including PBI, should get involved and use this as an opportunity," he added.
Since its inception in 1996, the state-run PBI has been working on the expansion of financial and banking services in rural areas. The bank operates under the ICT Ministry.
The bank's operation mostly comprises micro financial services based on ICT platforms.
With over 10,000 rural branches, PBI has the vastest domain in the country, covering even the remotest areas.
To mark its anniversary, PBI launched several new branches in the rural areas of Ilam and Lorestan provinces on Sunday.
Eyvan County in Ilam Province now hosts two new Post Bank branches, the bank's website reported.
According to Fardin Amiri, the bank’s provincial chief, PBI has managed to offer a major part of financial and banking services online.
"The number of transactions recorded only in Ilam exceeds eight million per month. PBI's quality services have curbed millions of unnecessary trips from villages to city centers for carrying out banking operations," he added.
Besides, Lorestan has become a large market, as 23 new PBI branches became operational in Nourabad, Doroud, Kouhdasht, Boroujerd, Poldokhtar, Khorramabad, Aligoudarz and Aleshtar counties early this week.
Shahab Heidari, the head of provincial ICT Organization, said officials are working to add equipment to an additional seven branches that will start offering services in the near future.
With the growing number of branches, PBI requires more technological ideas and startups to ensure it remains innovative and high-tech in terms of service quality and standards.
Unofficial reports show that about 50 fintech startups are operating in Iran’s financial markets.
Lack of a regulatory body and a proper legal framework are considered Iranian fintechs' main obstacles.
Recently, the Central Bank of Iran has announced that it was working on a comprehensive rulebook to authorize the operation of fintechs in the country.
To detect and nourish the potential talents and innovative ideas in the field, numerous startup weekends have been organized nationwide.
One such event was the Nourbakhsh Award ceremony held on the sidelines of the Eighth Conference on Electronic Banking and Payment Systems in February, organized by the Monetary and Banking Research Institute.
The annual event, which honors innovators in electronic banking fields, is the most prestigious of its kind with winners usually receiving their awards from the governor of the Central Bank of Iran.