UAE’s Network International in talks with Iran banks

TEHRAN (ISNA)- UAE-based Network International, the largest payments processor in the Middle East and Africa, could begin working with some of Iran’s largest banks this year, the company’s chief executive told Reuters.

The company is in talks with the banks about how it could begin processing debit, credit and other payment transactions without breaching the remaining economic sanctions against Iran, CEO Bhairav Trivedi said.

He declined to name the Iranian banks, beyond saying that they are among the country’s largest public and private lenders.

“We believe there are a lot of opportunities in Iran to expand our market, but we are not leaping into anything blindly,” Trivedi said. “If we can cross our T’s and dot our I’s from a regulatory standpoint, then I would like to say yes, we can initiate this year.”

“There’s still some doubt about how the sanctions and US dollar clearing will work in practice,” Trivedi said. “We are evaluating the proposals to create a structure that works.”

Some Iranian banks were clients of Network International before sanctions were tightened in 2011.

Network International is 51 per cent owned by Dubai’s largest bank Emirates NBD, with the remainder held by private equity firms Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic.

In 2014 Network International processed more than Dh85 billion ($23.1 billion) of transactions involving banks in the Mena region. The figure is set to swell this year after its acquisition of rival Emerging Markets Payments