The Preferential Trade Agreement with Iran, which came into force at the beginning of the year, paved the way for Iranian banks to enter the Turkish market. After Bank Mellat obtained the right to expand its operations in Turkey in March 2014, Iran's Saman Bank has also applied to the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) and the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK), according to the latest information gathered. The BDDK is now considering the Iranian bank's request; BDDK is expected to issue a reply around New Year's.
Iran is currently considering a major expansion in the finance sector in Turkey. Bank Tejarat and Pasargad Bank are also expected to reapply to be involved in the Turkish finance market after Saman Bank's application is approved. The approval of the expansion request of Bank Mellat, which despite being in the Turkish market since 1982, had not been operationally active in Turkey due to sanctions and had downsized in 2012, also raised hopes for other banks.
According to sources of Turkish daily Sabah, along with Halkbank, which has assumed a critical role in Turkey's trade with Iran, especially in payments for fuel oil and natural gas, Ziraat Bank is expected to be involved in trade after a request from Iranian authorities was delivered to the Economy Ministry and the Customs and Trade Ministry. Ziraat Bank, which has a representation office like Halkbank in Iran, can also increase its own financial markets by becoming active in Iran. It was further noted that the growth in the financial sector will also contribute to the trade between the two countries. The trade volume between Turkey and Iran is expected to increase to $30 billion in 2016.
Leader in electronic banking
Saman Bank, established as a loan society in 1999, had obtained its banking license in August 2002. The private financial institution has 149 branches in Iran and the bank is widely reputable, as it is the first bank to offer Internet banking in Iran. It has also contributed to the development of electronic banking in the country.
Easy terms for opening accounts
Another request of the Iranian finance sector is for easier terms for opening accounts in Turkish banks. A senior economic expert who also emphasized the Iranian banking sector's willingness to be actively involved in the Turkish banking sector stressed that better terms and facilities are required for banking transactions. The authorities said Iranians are willing to put the income they earn from oil to use in Turkey, and also want to find financing for the increasing number of private sector companies.