Global banks covet Iraq, but doubts hang over the country's sector
Interest by Citibank and Standard Chartered to expand into Iraq highlights the vast potential of the country’s banking sector, but the experience of a global rival points to the many pitfalls they must navigate.
With tens of millions of potential customers, few of whom have bank accounts, the country could provide a windfall for firms that manage to grab a foothold.
Iraqis are on the hunt for a full range of services, from current accounts to insurance and mortgages, little of which is currently on offer.
But outdated regulations, a preponderance of state-owned banks, poor infrastructure, and a litany of other obstacles mean succeeding in Iraq’s banking sector is no mean feat.
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