USACC Hosts New York Representative of International Bank of Azerbaijan

February 4, 2009

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Bank Shows Impressive Growth Despite Global Financial Crisis

(Washington, D.C.) - The United States - Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC) hosted Mr. Richard L. Smith, the newly appointed New York Representative of the International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA), at a packed briefing in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Smith gave attendees an overview of Azerbaijan's promising financial landscape and its performance in spite of the global economic crisis.

In his presentation, Mr. Smith highlighted that Azerbaijan has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world in recent years and is expected to show continued growth even against the backdrop of financial concerns across the globe. He elaborated on strategic measures taken by the Government of Azerbaijan to meet economic challenges, such as reducing the discount rate from 15% to 5% and lowering reserve requirements from 12% to 3%.

IBA has a market share of 40-50% and has been expanding overseas. Active in Russia and Georgia, IBA has also gained a foothold in the Middle East and has opened representative branches in major European cities and now, most recently, in New York. The Bank reached an exemplary profit margin of up to 55% in 2008.

"Azerbaijan remains the clear market leader with a focused domestic and international strategy," Mr. Smith said. He emphasized that the global financial crisis has not shaken the foundations of Azerbaijani financial institutions as it has in many other countries. The government, he continued, has been willing and ready to inject more capital into the domestic financial markets.

IBA-New York initiated its permit process in August 2007 and was approved by both the New York Federal Reserve and the State of New York in 2008. IBA currently operates from its midtown Manhattan office. The office's mains goals are representing and serving American clients and the Azerbaijani diaspora. In addition, the New York office aims to reach out to North American financial institutions, corporations and nonprofits that are either active in Azerbaijan or are interested in entering the Azerbaijani market.

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Source: USACC