MEB operates primarily as a wholesale bank, focusing mainly on corporate clients and specialized credit products. Middle East Bank (MEB) was established by a group of bankers, businessmen, and industrialists based on their evaluation of the present banking system in Iran, their projections for its future potential, and of consideration of its regional opportunities. MEB’s application for the banking licence was submitted to the Central Bank in 2010. Upon approval of the application by the Currency and Credit Council in April 2011 the founding shareholders provided 2,065 Billion IRRs (Iranian Rials) - or 51% of the required capital of 4,000 Billion IRRs - in August 2011. The remaining capital (1,935 Billion IRRs) was raised through a public share offering in July 2012. The General Assembly of the Founding Shareholders was held on the 27th of September, 2012. In this gathering, the articles of association of the new bank and its pre-operational expenses were approved, and the members of the board of directors were elected.
The Middle East Bank was officially incorporated on 21st of October, 2012, under registration number 430795 as "Bank Khavarmianeh Company" with the Companies Registrar Office of Tehran.
MEB was authorized to begin its operations on the 1st of November, 2012 and its shares were listed on FARA-Bourse (Tehran’s over-the-counter exchange) on 26th of December, 2012. On the 16th of March 2015, its shares are listed on the Tehran Stock Exchanges main market.
Formation of the Bank
The proposed Articles of Association of the Middle East (Khavarmianeh) Bank (MEB) was ratified by the Currency and Credit Council on 17 May 2011. After this major chapter in the course of formation of the Bank, potential founding shareholders were identified and their credentials reviewed and approved by various departments of the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Credit Department, Anti-money Laundering, etc.). This was followed by approval of the wording and format of the public announcement containing the list of founding shareholders. This announcement was placed in two national newspapers. From among the publicly subscribed shareholders, those with an investment of one percent and above had to go through the same clearance process as the founding shareholders, and each step was meticulously performed by various departments of the Central Bank. The Central Bank issued the necessary certificates upon confirming that (i) the four thousand billion Rials deposited in its Accounts Department by the investors of MEB was indeed “own-funds” of the investors and not borrowed and invested amounts; and (ii) the investors were all private sector individuals or firms with no affiliation with the government or state-owned entities. However, since the constitution of the Bank allowed it to be a publicly held shareholding company, it was also necessary to obtain the consent of the Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE) to offer Bank’s shares to the public. TSE independently examined the package and approved it. This process culminated in a certification that all the necessary steps had in fact been taken and properly executed. The above-mentioned detailed activities took about sixteen months. Documents including the Articles of Association duly signed by the founding shareholders, a letter from the Accounts Department of the Central Bank certifying that the initial paid-in capital of four thousands billion Rials was already deposited with that Bank, two letters from the Central Bank and the TSE certifying that all the relevant documentations were in good order and that the company under formation may be registered, were submitted to Tehran Companies Registrar’s Office. After another review at the Registrar’s Office, eventually, the new bank was formally registered on 21 August 2012 under registration number 430795 in the name of Khavarmianeh (Middle East) Bank. On 1 November 2012 the Central Bank issued the necessary authorization, allowing the Bank to initiate banking activities under the Non-usury Bank Act of August 1982 and within the rules and regulations already approved and advised by the Central Bank to banks, which may periodically be amended and announced and new rules and regulations that may be enacted, approved, and announced to banks.