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Iran’s finance minister changes CEOs of two largest banks

Iranian finance minister appoints CEOs for the country’s two largest banks.

Chief executive officers at Iran’s two largest banks have been changed as a new administrative government led by President Ebrahim Raeisi seeks major reforms in the banking system.

Mohammad Reza Farzin and Ayatollah Ebrahimi were appointed as CEOs of Bank Meli and Bank Sepah, respectively, on Saturday upon decrees issued by Iran’s finance minister Ehsan Khandouzi.

Farzin, a deputy finance minister under former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad until 2013, takes the reins at Bank Melli, Iran’s largest bank by asset size.

Bank Melli lost its position as Iran and the Muslim world’s largest bank last year after Bank Sepah was merged with a number of military-owned banks and financial institutions.

Bank Sepah’s new CEO Ebrahimi has served as CEO of the Ansar Bank, an institution affiliated with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps. The bank ceased operations in 2020.

Bank Melli and Bank Sepah have nearly 7,200 branches across Iran and nearly 60,000 staff members.

In his appointment decrees, Khandouzi ordered the new CEOs to devise new plans that could facilitate the funding of manufacturing projects in Iran.

He said that the banks have to continue to sell surplus assets to boost their finances.

The appointments come amid plans by Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi to fund massive economic projects in Iran in the next four years, including the construction of nearly four million affordable houses in the country.

Raeisi has vowed he would ease lending rules in the banking system to facilitate funding of the projects which he sees as urgent for Iran’s low income households.

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