North Bank "in Good Position for Growth"

Essentially if I have 700 or 800 billion dinars in loans it is natural to lose three or four billion in those loans. However, each year when I make a profit I add to my provisions whether I need to or not, and this year we shall do the same. We will allocate some of our profits to provisions to make sure that we are ready for a rainy day.''

Lastly, Al Jaff looked at the issue of the level of off- balance sheet leverage, noting: ''We are often criticised by the market and the government who say that the private banks are not greatly involved in helping daily businesses in Iraq. We are proud to say that we have the highest amount of leverages that has helped a lot of people to manage their businesses in Iraq. All of these loans are very well and I repeat very well; they are backed up by the assets that we have from the clients that we have received.’’

He added: ''We chose the clients that come to us. We accept the criticism that we have high concentrations but these clients are big clients. When I make a $25 million dollar guarantee for a company called Asiacell, everyone knows how big Asiacell is and so $25 million is not such a huge risk. Other companies that are doing the infrastructural programs like the water treatment or refinery projects are big companies and we know the clients and their assets are even greater than ours. So the risks we take with them are backed up by the assets that these companies have. Luckily we have been fortunate enough to have no bad experiences with these people. ''

Based in Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan, North Bank was founded by a private group of investors and business persons in 2004 shortly after the fall of the Saddam Hussein’s regime when it was issued a banking license by the Central Bank of Iraq. It is now a publicly-listed company (BNOR) traded on the Iraq ES (exchange).

Currently, North Bank has 18 branches across Iraq, located in Baghdad, Basra, Najaf, Karbala, Maysan, Nasirya ,Kut, Hilla ,Ramadi, Mosul, Kirkuk, Erbil, Duhok and Suleymaniyah and planning to open new branches in others governorates.

(Source: Marcopolis)

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