Seyed Gholamreza Mousavi: Mellat Bank to expand activity in Armenia

25.03.2016 | 10:55 Home / News / Interviews /

Lifting of Western sanctions against Iran affected Mellat Bank Armenia as well. The bank began to stir up its policy on marketing and broadening of services.

Deputy General Manager of Mellat Bank Armenia Seyed Gholamreza Mousavi told Banks.am about new advertising policy, capital replenishment, future activity, and a number of other issues.

- Mr Mousavi, Central Bank’s new decision indicating that standard for banks’ total capital should be AMD 30 billion will come into force in a few months. Does Mellat Bank anticipate capital replenishment?

- When Central Bank made the decision indicating that banks’ capital should reach AMD 30 billion, Iranian Mellat Bank, the sole shareholder of Mellat Bank Armenia, decided that our bank should also conform to that requirement. It was decided that capital replenishment should be implemented, making that index AMD 30 billion and more. Thus, our bank’s share capital increased from AMD 10 billion to AMD 18 billion during 2015.

We anticipate that the bank will resolve the capital issue before the end of the year. Capital replenishment will be implemented by our sole shareholder through increase of investments and retained earnings.

Taking into account good will that Iranian Mellat Bank managers have for us, we will continue to work on Armenian financial market. Moreover, owing to Armenia’s membership in EAEU, Mellat Bank in Yerevan can open doors to Eurasian Economic Union for Iranian Mellat Bank, providing its availability on that market.

- What perspectives does lifting of the sanctions against Iran open for Mellat Bank?

- Lifting of Western sanctions against Iran will undoubtedly have positive effect on the bank’s activity. It will help us come forward in international relations.

I’m happy to notice that we joined Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications SWIFT system the other day, and sent our first SWIFT message - congratulation on Iranian New Year.

Henceforth, our customers will be able to use our services more easily - realize and receive transactions from abroad, get loans, etc.

Our next step of entering international market will be providing international cards. We are already negotiating with several banks to implement their experience and technology in this sphere.

Mellat Bank can have a significant role in Armenian-Iranian economic relations. At the moment, we try to find all those legal persons that import goods to Armenia from Iran, and negotiate with them on making transactions through our bank.

- What plans does the bank have for 2016?  

- The most important goal of Mellat Bank is to play a role in development of capital market in Armenia. The bank never transferred its profit to Iran during several years of work in Armenia, but utilized it for capital replenishment and new investments in Armenia. Total profit was allocated to loans for physical persons and legal entities in Armenia, which make more than 80% of our customers.  

The bank intends to open second branches in Armenia and Georgia in near future, and a preliminary research is conducted for both. Until now, all our loans are estate secured loans. Simultaneously with the opening of a new branch, the bank will expand the range of its services, offering new loans secured or unsecured, international cards, etc. Furthermore, the bank will have a new address in 5-6 months.

We hope that our bank will soon be able to work as all normal banks do, providing customers with full service and restoring cooperation with other banks.

Mellat Bank owes its success to attitude and support of other local banks as well.

- We noticed new Mellat Bank advertising posters in the centre of Yerevan, does this tell about changes in the bank’s marketing policy?

- Our bank finally has its first advertisement in Armenia (smiles - editor’s note).



Until now, the bank’s management considered advertisement to be inexpedient, as our transactions were very limited due to the sanctions. It wouldn’t be right for customers to see the advertisement, come to the bank, and find us unable to provide them with necessary services.

Owing to lifting of sanctions against Iran, we can advertise our services with no restrictions from now on.

- While studying Mellat Bank reports, we noticed that the bank’s profit in 2015 increased nearly thrice compared to the previous year. What is the reason for that?

- There were no essential changes in our activity in 2015 as compared to 2014. This difference in the indicators is due to low profit of 2014, which was specified by a written-off loan that affected the profit. Fortunately, such cases didn’t occur in 2015.

You could say that lifting of Iranian sanctions hasn’t affected the results of our work yet. The reason is that both Armenian and international banks haven’t managed to completely figure out their relations with Mellat Bank yet, despite the fact that they already open accounts for us.

Siranush Simonyan talked to Seyed Gholamreza Mousavi

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