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23rd August 2011

Standard Chartered seeking controlling share of Warka Bank

Hassan al-Haidari, an Iraq Central Bank advisor confirmed that Standard Chartered had been involved in negotiations to buy a stake in Warka Bank for some time. Another government official said that negotiations were stuck on the issue of overall control with Standard Chartered wanting a stake in excess of 50% and Warka offering a stake less than this.


The Iraq Central Bank is seeking to ensure better bank capitalisation. By 2013 banks will be required to hold the equivalent of $213m capital. The banks will struggle to raise these sums within Iraq and therefore will be pressured into doing deals with foreign financial organisations. Another report suggests that Warka is currently some $90m short of the 2013 total and in addition is struggling to cover its liquidity needs. Warka has 130 branches and 250 ATMs. It was established in 1999.


There are a total of 38 banks listed with the central bank of which seven are state owned. Most are extremely small with Rafidain and Rashid the two major banks, both of which are state owned.