The Central Bank of Iraqi selected three banks to open branches in Baghdad. The three banks; HSBC Group, the National Bank of Kuwait and Standard Chartered Bank, are the first to be granted licenses to provide financial services in the country.
“Any economy goes nowhere without a banking sector, so that’s the first place to invest your money,” said Bill Barron, a managing director at Deutsche Asset Management Ltd. “HSBC and Standard Chartered have the expertise and the Middle Eastern network, so it’s no surprise they got in. I’m surprised there were no US banks, but it’s only a matter of time before Citibank and the others plant their flags there.”
The Iraqi people are casting their implicit vote for the success of the Central Bank’s policies by not selling Dinars for dollars. This week, the Central bank announced it would remove interest rate controls, a signaling growing confidence in the economy’s ability to grow.
The Central Bank has put in place a currency exchange to replaced Iraq’s old notes, a foreign investment law that allows non-Iraqis to own 100 percent of most companies and banks, tax codes for corporations and individuals, and customs duties.