Pan-Armenian Bank Gets Green Light From Parliament

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–The Armenian Parliament has adopted a bill paving the way for the establishment of a highly anticipated Pan-Armenian bank to pool the financial capital of Armenia’s around the world.

The public-private bank will be established to consolidate the resources of Armenian communities worldwide in an effort to bolster the global economic competitiveness of the Armenian nation, according to the Chairman of the Central Bank of Armenia (CBA) Arhur Djavadyan, who presented the legislation during Friday’s parliamentary hearing.

He said the bank will contribute to the development of Armenia by financing projects spearheaded by Diaspora based businessmen. But he did not specify how exactly projects implemented abroad would contribute to the development of Armenia.

The pan-national bank will function as an open joint stock that will be founded either by the Armenian Central Bank or the Republic of Armenia. It will function through private and state cooperation and will not compete with other banks functioning in the territory of Armenia, Djavadyan said, adding that “legal entities can also become founders of the bank.”

The legislation, described by Djavadyan as “simple,” will take effect on January 5, establishing the Pan-Armenian bank with a one-time $100 million capital investment by the CBA and another almost $20 million investment from the government.

The Pan-Armenian bank “will function according to the principles of corporative management adopted by the Organization of European Cooperation and Development (OECD),” Djavadyan said, adding that the CBA will control and coordinate its activities.

It will be barred from competing with commercial banks within the territory of Armenia but will be granted certain tax privileges and immunities from paying income tax and state registration and licensing fees.

The bank will focus on investing “money into lucrative programs,” the CBA chairman’said, adding that the new bank may also fund programs pursued by the Armenian government such as health care, tourism, science, education, and financial and infrastructure development.

He said the bank will “implement its programs though commercial banks in Armenia by lending money to them and providing “assistance to small and medium-sized businesses,” through syndicated loans by groups of lenders working together to provide funds for single borrowers.

The bank will also refrain from attracting deposits from within the country, focusing instead on attracting deposits from abroad, he said, noting that Armenian entrepreneurs and international organizations have already signaled their readiness to invest their capital in the bank, set to begin operating next year

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