Bank Sepah, a major Iranian commercial bank, plans to open branches in China, South Korea and Iraq in the near future.
Kazem Choghazardi, Sepah’s chief executive, said his bank has taken the preliminary steps for opening overseas branches and intends to start operations in China, South Korea and Iraq after receiving the permissions from Iranian and local authorities.
Sepah would be the first Iranian lender to open a branch in China, Iran’s largest commercial partner. Tejarat Bank had a corresponding office in Beijing, which is not operating at the moment. Currently, Bank Mellat is the only Iranian bank with a branch in South Korea. However, Iranian banks have an active presence in Iraq. Bank Melli Iran has a branch each in Baghdad, Najaf and Basra. Parsian Bank has a branch in Baghdad. In May, Iran’s Tourism Bank also opened a branch in Najaf.
Except for 1,800 domestic branches, Bank Sepah has active branches in Rome, Paris, Frankfurt and London.
“Overseas branches of Sepah processed €556 million worth of transactions in the first five months of the current Iranian year (started March 21),” Sepah’s chief executive said.
“The bank’s total forex transactions reached $5.8 billion in the four months to July 22, marking a 134% growth compared with the same period of last year.”
Choghazardi noted that Sepah has opened or reactivated 55 accounts in 28 foreign banks since the lifting of nuclear sanctions on January 2016.