As many as 93 per cent of Iraqi adults do not have a bank account, the country’s Central Bank said yesterday.
“The World Bank estimates for 2014 indicated that the number of deposit accounts for Iraqis to the number of adults is 11 per cent, meaning that 89 per cent of these adults do not have bank accounts but use cash to settle their transactions,” the bank said in its annual report 2016 issued on Monday.
According to the report, available data for 2015 and 2016 showed that this figure fell to 6.5 per cent and 6.8 per cent, respectively.
It pointed out that the decline is because a majority of the banks’ branches, or 37.8 per cent, were concentrated in the province of Baghdad in 2016, in addition to “the reluctance of many individuals to deal with banks for religious reasons”.
Moreover, the report pointed out that people prefer to save their cash than to use it in trading.
“Citizens do not have confidence in government and private banks, so the vast majority prefer manual financial transactions without going through bank rings,” Abdul Hussein Jassim, a member of the Iraqi Stock Exchange told the Anadolu Agency.
“Some banks, especially private ones, have been exposed to major financial problems. They have been placed under guardianship by the Iraqi Central Bank and thousands of customers have not been able to withdraw their financial assets,” he added.