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31st July 2003


PR No. 23



The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) has issued a Request for Information (RFI), inviting proposals for assisting in managing Iraq’s two largest commercial banks – Rafidain Bank and Rasheed Bank. The aim is to help both banks to restructure in order to become commercially viable entities able to operate successfully within a market economy. “It is important that Iraq’s banks help to create the economic growth that Iraq needs,” stated Peter McPherson, the CPA’s Director of Economic Development. “This decision is a step in that direction.”

Under Iraq’s previous regime, Rafidain and Rasheed banks operated under the direct control of the country’s political leadership, extending resources to public enterprises and supporting projects favored by Baath Party officials.  Despite many well-trained and highly-capable staff, the banks’ international isolation, and the level of government control over them, have undermined their technical capacity to operate based on sound credit policies, while their asset/liability management practices has been significantly weakened.

The Request for Information seeks expert views from global financial and management entities interested in helping to manage the Rafidain and Rasheed  banks through management contracts. The RFI is specifically directed toward institutions with sufficient size and strength to undertake these contracts themselves.  Expressions of interest will be evaluated by the CPA and the Governing Council. 

Among the issues to be addressed in the RFI are: the development of a new business strategy for each bank; the prioritization of key reforms needed; creation of a “good bank/bad bank” structure at each bank; methods to encourage small and medium-enterprise lending, and the development of new bank lending and borrowing instruments suitable to Iraq’s economy.

This RFI is part of a wide-ranging economic reform program in Iraq aimed at: (i) modernizing the country’s financial system, (ii) building a new foundation for Iraq’s banking system based on sound market principles, (iii) fully implementing measures among Iraq’s banks that are consistent with international best practices in all aspects of commercial bank operations, and (iv) allowing Iraq to realize its unique potential for economic growth to the greatest extent possible. 

Additional details can be found at



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