The Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) has granted three more foreign banking licences to regional institutions. The three banks are Bahrain-based Arab Banking Corporation (ABC), Jordan’s Housing Bank for Trade & Financeand Bank Melli Iran.

The CBI launched the most recent licensing round for foreign banks in April. International banks that failed to win licences in last autumn’s competition were given a second chance to enter the country and more than 30 are understood to have submitted applications (MEED 11:5:04).

Banks obtaining foreign licences can enter the country in three ways: by acquiring a majority stake in an existing Iraqi bank; by opening a greenfield subsidiary; or by establishing a branch. Subsidiaries are required to have minimum capital of New Iraqi Dinars (NID) 50,000 million ($33 million). Successful applicants should start operations within six months; have a geographic diversity; lend to multiple sectors; offer domestic and international cash management and payment products; use modern banking techniques; and train locals for management positions.

HSBC, Standard Chartered Bankand National Bank of Kuwait were awarded licences after the conclusion of the first licensing round in January, when just three out of the 15 applicants received permits (MEED 6:2:04).