The remarkable survival of Rafideen Bank

The Manager of Rafideen bank, Alyasiry, said Wednesday that the bank has overcome a recommendation by a foreign company to sell or privatize the bank. The company was called in to evaluate the bank’s  financial situation after 2003. He says that the bank is working on completing the rules of comprehensive electronic exchange which would reduce financial and administrative corruption and is opening new branches in London, the United States , Brussels , France and Iran.

At a 69th anniversary celebration organised by  Alrafideen bank on Wednesday  Alyasiry said that the bank has overcome the decision made late 2005 by the foreign exchange Company assigned by the Iraqi government to evaluate the bank‘s performance. He added that the company recommended that the bank should be sold or privatized or offered as a public / private partnership which would have meant the bank’s closure and large scale loss of jobs.

Alyasiry explained that the reasons behind the recommendation were losses that reached 8.5 trillion ID in addition to debts worth 28 billion US dollars due to lootings during 2003 when 27 branches of the bank were totally burnt with the loss of all records. Only 12 branch records matched from a total of 147 branches.

Alyasiry pointed out that at that time the managers of the bank submitted a study to bring the bank back to working order and to renovate its branches.  Today there are 167 branches inside Iraq and seven branches outside and he clarified that the profits of the bank for the year of 2006 reached 321 billion ID and rose to reach 727 ID for the year 2007.

Alyasiry added that Alrafideen bank look forward to implementing a comprehensive electronic system which would eliminate administrative and financial corruption so that information would be easily available and the dealings of the branches would become transparent and would connect the bank with the global banking system. The bank began working on this system in  2008 with the help of a Jordanian company. The work on this system is still ongoing and the bank hopes to launch it as soon as possible. He added that ‘we have accomplished smart card project and we added new services for the smart card so it is not only used to pay pensions and salaries.

Alrafideen bank owns seven branches outside Iraq, two of them in Jordan and one in Beirut ,Sanaa , Abu Dhabi and Cairo. The bank will increase the number of its branches outside Iraq. InBritain it plans to reopen its old branch there and also is in talks with Iran where the branch might be opened inside the Iraqi embassy or near it in addition to China , France, Brussels and the United States.

The banking expert, Ghazi Alkinani, said that Alrafideen bank overcame many difficulties since it was founded in 1941 in tough conditions when world war 2 was looming It was the third Arab and largest Arab bank and the only one with a branch in London in 1958.

Alkinani pointed out that Alrafideen bank helped in opening banks for the Arab and Gulf countries which were poor at that time and in the training the staff of those banks.

It endured hard conditions on the 1990s after the United Nations imposed sanctions against Iraq because of the second Gulf war. The bank then started to regain its well being and global position. Alkinani said that Alrafideen bank can now practice its international role especially since there are no debts registered outside Iraq.

( Iraq Directory )

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