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5 Foreign Banks Licensed by Iran

The Central Bank of Iran has released the names of 40 registered banks and credit institutions active in the country, which include the names of five foreign banks mostly based in Tehran and Kish Free Trade Zone.

The only five foreign lenders licensed to operate in Iran are the Hamburg-based Iranian-European Bank, Standard Chartered PLC, Iran-Venezuela Bi-National Bank, Islamic Cooperation Investment Bank and Future Bank, CBI's website reported.

Iranian-European Bank

As the first foreign lender, the Hamburg-based Iranian-European Bank (Europaisch-Iranische Handelsbank AG), affiliated with Iran’s Bank of Industry and Mine, became operational in Kish FTZ back in 2005. In 2008, the bank converted its Tehran representative office into an independent branch.

The lender has a German license, but is owned by the Iranian state. Iran’s Bank of Industry and Mine is the biggest shareholder with Bank Mellat and Tejarat Bank also owning stakes.

Iranian merchants had founded the bank in the early 1970s to support trade between Europe and Iran. The bank’s activities had been frozen for five years , as the lender was hit with nuclear-related sanctions but resumed activities after the lifting of sanctions in 2016.

Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered PLC is a British multinational banking and financial services company headquartered in London. It operates a network of more than 1,200 branches and outlets (including subsidiaries, associates and joint ventures) across more than 70 countries and employs about 87,000 people.

It is a universal bank with operations in consumer, corporate and institutional banking, and treasury services. Despite its UK base, it does not conduct retail banking in the UK, and approximately 90% of its profits come from Asia, Africa and the Middle East, where it often acts as an "intermediary bank" in transnational transactions. The bank opened its branch on Kish Island in February 2006.

Iran-Venezuela Bi-National Bank

Established as a joint venture between Banco Industrial de Venezuela and the Export Development Bank of Iran in 2010 with a starting capital of $200 million offered equally by both countries, the bank aimed to boost commercial relations and investments among Iran, Venezuela and Latin America. The bank has one branch in Tehran.

However, Iran is planning to sell some of its shares in IVBB, as the two countries currently have no commercial relations because the long geographical distance between the two countries and Venezuela’s monetary regulations increase the cost of transactions.

Islamic Cooperation Investment Bank

Islamic Cooperation Investment Bank was established in 2006 as an Iraqi private lender. The bank has 11 branches in Baghdad, Karbala, Najaf, Sulaymaniyah and Tehran.

The bank opened its Tehran branch last year following the investment of Keshavarzi Bank in the bank because of the significant trade volume between Iran and Iraq, as well as expansion of banking relations between the two countries.

Future Bank

Future Bank is a fully commercial lender approved by the Central Bank of Bahrain. The bank has its headquarters in Manama.

The bank was established in July 2004 as a joint venture by three reputed financial institutions—Bank Saderat Iran, Bank Melli Iran and Ahli United Bank of Bahrain—based on the vision of becoming a unified entity that incorporates the strengths of all three constituents. The bank's branch in Iran is located in Kish FTZ.

The bank's major shareholders are members of a vast global network within the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council, European and Far Eastern markets, effectively extending their reach beyond the bank's regional footprint.


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