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Iran to shutter 1,000 bank branches until March 2020: Official

Iran to shutter 1,000 bank branches until March 2020: Official

Iran to shutter 1,000 bank branches until March 2020: Official
September 29
02:53 2019

A deputy to Iran’s finance minister says banks in the country would shutter around 1,000 of branches until March next year

Abbas Memarnejad said on Saturday that the branches will be merged with others as part of a plan to sell extra assets of the banks to generate resources needed for streamlining their operations.

Memarnejad said an estimated 10,000 more bank branches are planned to be closed in the upcoming years, generating around $7 billion in new funds for the banks.

The official would not elaborate on whether the closures would lead to redundancies and job losses in the banking system.

However, the program comes amid an increasing preference of bank customers across Iran for digital and online services.

Iran saw a major growth in the physical activity of the banks in the 15 years ending in 2011. However, banks have decided for rapid closures over the past years as they seek more resources to improve their lending business.

A decision by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) to merge five military-owned banks into Bank Sepah has also led to accelerated closures.

Memarnejad did not elaborate on the number of branches that would be incorporated into Bank Sepah, the oldest Iranian banking institution and currently the second largest after Bank Melli.

A study last year suggested that there were more than 23,000 bank branches in Iran, a country of 80 million, far above the optimum figure recommended by the finance ministry which is 12,000.

However, there have been reports suggesting that shuttering branches of major banks in remote areas have deprived people living in those regions of of some vital services.

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