Armenia’s Central Bank sees no grounds to terminate operation of Iranian Bank in the country

22.08.2012 18:49
Armenia’s Central Bank sees no grounds to terminate operation of Iranian Bank in the country

YEREVAN, August 22. /ARKA/. A high-level official of Armenia’s Central Bank said today there were no grounds for the termination of the operation of Iranian Mellat Bank in Armenia. Speaking at a news conference, Daniel Azatian, head of the Financial Monitoring Center (FMC) of the Central Bank,

said the Iranian bank’s financial indicators, standards, its solvency give no reasons whatsoever for the termination of its activity in Armenia. He said such a decision is up to its shareholders, ‘but  I do not think it will happen, because there are no obstacles to the bank's performance in Armenia,’ he said.

Earlier, the news agency Reuters said in an article that with international sanctions squeezing Iran, the Islamic Republic is seeking to expand its banking foothold in  Armenia to make up for difficulties in countries it used to rely on to do business.

Mellat Bank is the only bank with Iranian capital, operating in Armenia.  According to Mr. Azatian, Mellat Bank, founded in 1996, was once very active having contributed to the strengthening of Armenian-Iranian relations, but at the moment it is the smallest of all banks in Armenia.

“As the EU and the U.S. demand that their banks do not work with Mellat Bank and financial organizations cooperating with it, other Armenia-based banks were forced to cease correspondent relations with Mellat Bank in order to be able to work with foreign partners," Azatian said.
According to the Central Bank, the assets of Mellat Bank from December 2008 to July 1, 2012 slashed from $88 million to $40 million. Mellat Bank does not have correspondent accounts in European and American banks and in banks operating in Armenia.

At the same time, Azatian stressed that the regulator does not restrict the activities of the bank and does not forbid anyone to work with it. According to him, today Mellat Bank in Armenia works only with its head office in Tehran serving trade deals between Armenia and Iran.

"From time to time we discuss with U.S. and European counterparts general questions, including the Iranian factor. Our partners say they understand that  whether we like it or not, the trade between Armenia and Iran needs to be serviced financially,’ he said. -0-

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