NewsThe Central Bank of Montenegro evaluates license request from Zeren Group for...

The Central Bank of Montenegro evaluates license request from Zeren Group for new bank venture

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Nikola Bašanović, Director of the Directorate for Licensing, Approvals, Measures, and Assessment of Compliance at the CBCG, informed “Vijesti” about a license request received by the Central Bank of Montenegro. The Zeren Group, potentially as the sole founder or shareholder, submitted the request to operate a credit institution.

The application, accompanied by documentation, was lodged on March 15, 2024. Montenegro will await the decision on whether to grant the license to the Zeren Group, which would become the twelfth bank in the country and the second with majority Turkish capital. The decision timeframe spans 180 days, or six months.

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“The decision-making process for such requests is meticulous, and the speed of processing and final decision depends on the quality of the submitted documentation. The legal provision from Article 68 of the Law on Credit Institutions outlines that the Central Bank must decide within 180 days from the date of application submission, or if the application is irregular, no later than within 180 days from the submission of the proper request. Hence, at this stage, the Central Bank reviews whether the prescribed documentation complies with legal requirements, ensuring the request’s validity,” explained Bašanović.

Previously, a delegation from the Zeren Group, led by owner Mustafa Jigit Zeren, met with the Governor of the Central Bank, Irena Radović, in December. During the meeting, Zeren expressed the group’s interest in expanding its Montenegrin operations to the banking sector.

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The Zeren Group, a private company with a successful track record spanning 50 years across Turkey and six other countries, operates in diverse sectors, including finance, construction, IT, and energy, with an annual turnover exceeding five billion dollars.

In recent years, the Zeren Group has established three companies in Montenegro: “Zeren Group Investment,” engaged in trade; “Zeren Motors,” dealing with car trade; and “Zeren Food,” registered as a restaurant. Mustafa Jigit Zeren serves as the director for all three companies.

Currently, there are no other pending requests for bank licenses before the Central Bank. Montenegro hosts 11 operational banks, with Ziraat Bank being the first Turkish bank to establish a branch in the country back in 2015, operating under the ownership of the state investment fund “Türkiye Wealth Fund.”

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