by David Zenian
"I want to do whatever I can to help" said Vahe Jazmadarian, General Manager of Credit Suisse, in Paris, France, as he concluded his one week visit to Yerevan to explore and analyse the banking system in Armenia. Impressed by the thorough study Armenian officials had done before his visit, Mr. Jazmadarian spent all his days in intensive 8 to 10 hour meetings with finance and economic ministers.
"As privatization, joint ventures and a locally controlled economy become a reality the establishment of nationally owned commercial and foreign trade banks becomes crucial to the financial viability of the country," explained Mr. Jazmadarian. "We must thoroughly understand present Soviet banking regulations, Armenia's current collateral resources and budget needs first, however", he added.
Armenia, like all Soviet republics, operates financially under the control of the Moscow Central Government banking system. All export and import sales are under Moscow's jurisdiction. Heavily taxed, Armenia is also charged by Moscow with an exchange rate of 1.8 rubles to the dollar (black market rates are now 40 rubles to the dollar).
Mr. Jazmadarian, a member of AGBU's District Committee of France, began his career with Citibank's branch in Lebanon. In 1973 he was appointed General Manager of Credit Suisse in Beirut. With economic conditions worsening he convinced Credit Suisse to open a new division in Paris in 1980 to accommodate many Lebanese customers who had relocated to France. Commuting every two weeks between Beirut and Paris for 8 years, Mr. Jazmadarian moved permanently to Paris in 1988.