Standard Chartered Bank opens Erbil branch
Standard Chartered announced the inauguration of its branch in Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, on March 3
Nechirvan Barzani, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, officially opened Standard Chartered’s Erbil branch at a ceremony held at the bank’s premises. Also present at the ceremony was Rasheed Tahir, Deputy Minister of Finance, and Adham Derwish Barzani, Director General of the Kurdistan Region’s Central Bank. The bank will be opening one more branch in the country, in Basra, later in 2014.
Standard Chartered launched its operations in Iraq in November 2013 when it opened its Iraq head office and first branch in Baghdad. The move makes Standard Chartered the only international bank to have fully-fledged on-theground wholesale banking operations in two of the main cities in Iraq.
The ceremony was also attended by V Shankar, the Group Executive Director and Standard Chartered Bank’s Chief Executive Officer for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas; Christos Papadopoulos, the Regional CEO of MENAP and Standard Chartered Bank; Nafees Akbarali, MENAP’s regional Head of Financial Markets, and a host of senior representatives from the Bank.
V Shankar said: “For Standard Chartered, the Middle East has been part of our strategic footprint for over 90 years. The establishment of our Erbil branch complements the deepening of our presence in Iraq, an increasingly important economy in the region. With the support of the government, our partners and clients, we look forward to playing a key role in the development of the economy as a core bank to businesses looking to participate in Iraq’s growth.”
Standard Chartered has been present in Iraq since 2006 through a representative office in Erbil. On November 27, 2013 the Bank officially launched its on-the ground operations in Iraq.
Commenting on the launch of its Erbil Branch, Gavin Wishart, Chief Executive of the Standard Chartered Bank in Iraq, said: “We have adopted a client-led strategy in Iraq and we need to have a presence where our customers are concentrated. Our move today is testament to our commitment to the Iraqi market. By opening our second branch in Iraq, we aim to bring best international practice and unprecedented financial solutions to international companies operating in Kurdistan and Iraq in general. In addition to servicing our existing clients, we aim to sup- port large infrastructure projects that are planned in the country. We believe our move will bring depth to the Iraqi financial market and will complement our product capabilities and expand our footprint in line with our group strategy.”
According to the latest economic research by Standard Chartered, Iraq’s real GDP is set to grow by 6 % during 2014 and 8.5 % in 2015.