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Awards for excellence - Azerbaijan

Best Bank

International Bank of Azerbaijan

Despite the fact that reform of the banking system is now well underway, state owned International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA) remains the only real contender for the prize of best bank. It controls around 70% of the country's $1 billion banking assets and is virtually unique in being both liquid and profitable.

IBA has a 40% share of retail banking business and continues to dominate the Azeri market for credit cards. To date it has issued about 27,000 plastic cards to Azerbaijan citizens. It has a close relationship with National Bank of Azerbaijan and transacts the majority of government business. The bank also undertakes most of the foreign exchange business in the country.

IBA is set to be the first bank to be privatized in Azerbaijan. However, the timing of this is still unclear. The Government has been accused of dragging its feet over the sell off - which was originally touted to take place by the end of 1998.

A number of foreign banks have now gained a foothold in Azerbaijan, including HSBC - which is the longest established among them - and Bay Bank of Turkey.

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