Banking in Baghdad

May 30, 2014

The banking system in Iraq is a little on the antiquated side. There are no credit cards, no bank cards, no ATMs, and certainly no online banking. To make a deposit at the branch of the Rasheed Bank on Al-Mutanabbi street you first have to walk up a set of stone stairs to the counters on the second floor. You approach the counter, present your ID and banking book, and advise the teller of the amount you would like to deposit. She dutifully takes out a deposit slip, indicates the amount, and applies a stamp. You go back down the stairs and present this slip, along with the cash, to one of the windows on the first floor. This teller will verify that the amount of cash matches what is recorded on the slip, accept the deposit, then apply another stamp to the slip to indicate receipt of funds. Then you go back up the stairs and present the double-stamped slip to the teller on the second floor along with your banking book. She accepts both items and disappears, returning some time later with the bank manager’s authorization and duly updates the balance in your bank book by hand. All in all it took just under an hour to complete the deposit. The current interest rate on a savings account is 3.5%.

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