Example: The Task Force to Improve Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO) mission in Iraq is to reinvigorate the Iraqi and Afghan economies by restoring employment and creating prosperity for the nations’ peoples. TFBSO focuses on initiatives that restore the core industrial capability of a state’s economy including foreign direct investment, banking and financial networks, industrial revitalization, corporate development, Iraq private sector development, procurement assistance, and agriculture revitalization.
TAA Subject Matter Experts provided critical input into the strategy and planning for the development of modern banking throughout Iraq. TAA SMEs worked directly with the Central Bank of Iraq to grant licenses for private bank branches in the IZ, and private banks throughout the country to obtain agreement from private bankers to establish a private banking consortium focused on multi-channel retail payments infrastructure, transmit and receive Electronic Funds Transfers (EFTs), and enable retail electronic payments through mobile banking. TAA SMEs coached Iraqi bank management on how to develop shared banking services and trained senior bank officials through the Electronic Fund Transfer Assistance Center (EFTAC).
Two of Iraq’s private banks, the Bank of Baghdad and Commercial Bank of Iraq are now issuing MasterCard branded debit cards to their customers, with credit cards soon available. This is the first time in the history of Iraq that an Iraqi bank has been allowed to issue a major brand named debit card in its own name. Additionally, this project has driven approximately $500 million USD to private banks, greatly reducing the amount of cash on the battlefield. Thousands of Iraqi vendors have opened business accounts with these banks and are developing customer relationships as a result of this initiative.