Standard Chartered plans Iraq Expansion

By John Lee.

UK-based bank Standard Chartered is counting on the assistance of the British government to help it to open branches in Iraq by the end of the year, according to a report from The National.

The newspaper says the company plans to open three branches in the next eighteen months, to tap into the business generated from reconstruction.

US banks including Citibank and JPMorgan Chase have both recently announced investments in the country, although HSBC announced plans to sell its local subsidiary, Dar Es Salaam Investment Bank (DES).

"We are planning to open three branches in Iraq, Baghdad, Erbil during the fourth quarter of 2013 and then Basra during 2014, subject to regulatory approvals," a spokesman for Standard Chartered said.

"The bank has already submitted its branch licence application to the regulators in Iraq. Our main aim is to meet the increasing banking needs of our global network clients in Iraq, notably in the power, oil, telecoms and infrastructure sectors."

It has run a representative office in Erbil since 2006 but is looking to expand its presence and hire "significant numbers" of local Iraqis.

The British embassy is said to be taking an active role in assisting the bank, by facilitating negotiations with the Baghdad and Erbil.

US's Citibank established a representative office in Baghdad this year, while JPMorgan has deepened ties with the Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI).

(Source: The National)

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