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Middle East's best bank transformation 2017: Ayandeh Bank

Last year’s award for best bank transformation honoured Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait, a bank that showed great ambition by acquiring a financial institution larger than itself – the Egyptian division of Greek bank Piraeus. By so doing it became an international player in Middle Eastern banking.

This year’s award goes to a bank that achieved something altogether different: the successful merger of multiple struggling financial institutions in a single country. The winner is Iran’s Ayandeh Bank, a bank born of the fusion of three financial institutions and 10 credit cooperatives. As Euromoney noted at the time of its creation, few bank mergers anywhere in the world have been more ambitious than the one that created Ayandeh.

While Ayandeh’s creation dates back to 2013, only now can we confidently say that it has achieved its goal of taking a dozen dysfunctional businesses, combining them with Tat Bank, and making them into a successful whole. It takes time to assess whether or not such a radical form of financial engineering has worked, especially in Iran where accurate information about the banking community can be patchy and where such a merger had never happened before. 

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