An iBoost For Iraq's Private Banks

Private banking reform is needed in Iraq, but iPhones may help.

Abu Talib Al-Hashimi, chairman of Gulf Commercial Bank, is critical of the state stranglehold on banking in Iraq, reports Aswat Al-Iraq.

By holding government deposits at government banks only, "This situation made the private sector banking system paralyzed and lacking its flexibility as private banks", he said.

Iraq has recently put on hold its plans to re-organize the financial system and develop the private banking system until 2013.

But a major step in encouraging economic development is to get banking to the masses, and Dr. Sinan al-Shabibi, governor of the Central Bank of Iraq, told journalists that banking will soon come to the population by cellphone.

Over the next 12 months or so, expect that Iraqis, the majority of whom have cellphones but no bank account, will be able to open up a private account and carry out transactions while they are on the go.

(Sources: Aswat Al-Iraq; Central Bank of Iraq)

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