Arab Banking Corporation (ABC) is planning to enter the Iraqi market in the near future as the bank has already acquired the commercial banking licence to operate in Iraq.
A senior official at ABC Bahrain says that the bank had got a licence in the first week of this month. “We are ready to be present on the soil in Iraq but we are waiting to see an improved security situation in the country,” he says. “ABC is working to announce the formal launch in this regard.”
Talking about the ABC’s new strategy he says that the bank had already unveiled a major expansion initiative across the region. “We at ABC will be looking at assuming a much wider role across the region and the bank’s plans to reach Iraqi market is a manifestation of the bank’s new strategy.
“We are also working on different options in Libya and the bank will continue such investigations in future to open operations etc,” he adds. “We have plans to concentrate on the Arab region as this region has a very promising future.”
Referring to the recent redundancy plan of ABC, he says that the bank’s earlier decision to sell its US$1.3bn stakes in International Bank of Asia and Bank of Atalantico, whose affairs were handled from ABC Bahrain, had prompted the bank to reorganise its structure.
The redundancy, he said, was not aimed at saving the costs but to enhance the efficiency of the bank. “Under the new plans, 54 employees including 43 Bahrainis and 11 expatriates were made redundant. The bank has offered a very reasonable package to all outgoing employees and every employee was happy with that offer,” he said.
According to the new strategy, ABC International Bank London (ABCIB) – 100% owned by ABC – will be responsible for all international branches.
“These international branches in Europe and North America were handled by the ABC Bahrain and a shift in responsibilities has also made some employees redundant,” he further says.