By John Lee.
British bank Standard Chartered is to apply to Iraqi regulators for permission to open three business branches in Baghdad, Basra and Erbil.
Chief executive of wholesale banking, Mike Rees (pictured), told The Telegraph:
"Associated with the name British is trust ... It is a very important brand which I think is underestimated. But we need to use it.
"Since the Iraq war we have worked with JP Morgan to establish the Iraq Trade Bank [Trade Bank of Iraq, TBI], which was to help growth there [after] the war and the reconstruction. Off the back of that, we opened a representative office in Erbil.
"As with every country we go into, the question is once you have a rep office, how do you go to the next stage, which is to support growth?
"If we listen to our clients, our Korean clients, our oil and gas clients, they would probably want us in Basra and Erbil as branches but I suspect that we would have to be in Baghdad as well, being that it is the commercial centre.
"Our Korean clients are building infrastructure and power [in the country]. Our oil and gas clients such as BP are doing a fantastic job reaching their production targets. They want us to be there to help finance those businesses. Clearly we have to talk to the regulators, talk about the next stage, our aspiration for the country, but that is what I would be hoping."
(Source: The Telegraph)