Tehran, Iran, Nov. 23
By Mehdi Sepahvand – Trend:
A banking expert says he sees a day in a few years when at least 50 percent of bank branches in Iran are closed.
Banking and Fintech guru Slawomir Lachowski has told Trend that he sees Iran as a green field ready for a lot of work.
"From my perspective as somebody who has over 25 years’ experience in managing services, looking after disruptions, and using technology to serve customers better, what you see in a country like Iran is a green field where you can make a lot," he said.
Lachowski is the founder of, among others, mBank, now the third-largest retail bank in Poland with 5 million customers, the fourth largest in the Czech Republic and Slovakia by the same measure, and one of the largest of this type of institution in the world.
"I traveled the streets of Tehran. I saw so many [bank] branches all over the streets. So I thought this is incredible. One day they will disappear. Maybe not all of them, but 50 percent of them within the next 10 years, believe me."
"I can imagine there would be one day a bank without branches in Iran," he said with great hope. "The digital era is coming to Iran, the Teleco providers with 3G and 4G coverage and people using smart phones!"
Elaborating on how Iran can see a quick boost in Fintech, he said, "Using the knowledge, not copying the models which are successful in like UK, Poland, US, and Germany. This is about using knowledge, experience, adapting technology and developing the business models, and unique value proposition for the customer in Iran, having in mind their lifestyle and their financial needs to satisfy… The most important thing is experience… What they need to do is to share experience."
"This is a chance for both sides – for Western countries and at the same for Iranians to open up and make use of technology, knowledge and experience from outside. That is very important to understand that this is not a one-way street."
Lachowski launched mBank within 100 days in 2000, the first online-only bank in Poland and in Central and Eastern Europe, based on a low-cost finance business model, which turned out to be a disruptive innovation that transformed Poland's retail banking market.