Iraq’s North Bank — the largest bank in Iraq (Private) — believes in active involvement in the market, and statics show the bank as the largest in the Republic in giving loans and three times the size of its nearest competitor in terms of capitalization.
Iraq Business News praised North Bank in a recent article “as one of Iraq’s best capitalized, being one of only three to have reached the CBI’s IQD 250 billion share capital target. It has also been one of the top performing names in the Iraqi market. Adjusted for capital increases, the shares have risen by over 250 percent since 2009.”
“What ‘s not to like?” Principal at Quantrarian Capital Management, Mark DeWeaver asked rhetorically.
The Sansar report added that rising credit penetration is likely to further fuel banking sector growth. “Buoyed by strong economic growth and rising credit penetration, the five largest private Iraqi banks grew aggregate net income by 207 percent between 2010-2012.
Nozad Dawood Fattah Al Jaff (pictured), Chairman of North Bank, pointed out during an interview with Marcopolis the new state of the banking market and the regional room for growth. “This market is very new and it is an open market. The size of the economy in Iraq is so big that there is room for another hundred banks to enter the market.”
He added, “Competition comes if you actually get involved in the daily market business, which is the policy that North Bank is following. North Bank is the largest bank in Iraq in terms of giving loans and we surpass the second closest bank in this area by at least three times.”
Al Jaff asserted, “We welcome any other banks to do business in this area.” He noted “Every bank has its own specialty and a new variety of expertise would definitely help this important sector to grow, be it in Iraq or particularly in Kurdistan.”
According to Singapore-based Sansar Capital, the Iraqi banking sector ” is poised for significant earnings and asset growth over the next decade driven by a strong macro environment, increasing credit penetration and an improving security situation.” Sansar reported that for 2013 the IMF was expecting Iraqi GDP to hit a nine percent growth, after posting a strong 8.4 percent GDP for 2012.