Bank Sepah, Iran’s oldest state-owned bank, is on track to complete its takeover of five banks linked to the military by end-December, Central Bank of Iran (CBI) governor Abdolnasser Hemmati said on 9 October. Bank Sepah announced last month that it had already acquired 70% of the shares of these banks (MEES, 20 September). Takeover of the remaining minority shares is underway, Mr Hemmati says.

The five banks are Ansar Bank (owned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps), Bank Hekmat Iranian (owned by the Iranian army), Mehr Eghtesad Bank (owned by the Basij militia force), Kosar Credit Institution (founded by the Defense Ministry) and Ghvanim Bank (founded in 2000 by Mohammad Qalibaf, Iran’s police chief and prominent conservative politician). These banks had total assets of $43.4bn and total debts of $42.1bn, the Iranian press reported in March when the CBI first announced the merger plans. (CONTINUED - 256 WORDS)