A full-service bank is in the works for the largest U.S. military base in Kuwait, officials said this week.
An agreement has been signed between the Army and the National Bank of Kuwait to open a branch on Camp Arifjan, just outside Kuwait City. While Arifjan — like a handful of other U.S. bases in the Mideast — has automated teller machines where cash can be withdrawn, there are no full-service banks on base.
According to Army officials, National Bank of Kuwait was chosen because the U.S. Treasury Department has certified it as the only Middle Eastern bank able to electronically transfer dollars between accounts in Iraq and Kuwait.
That is because NBK, as the bank is known, has an ownership stake with Credit Bank of Iraq, which also handles U.S. dollar accounts for the military.
“This transfer ability of funds … is necessary to support U.S. Army operations in Iraq for an indefinite period of time,” according to information provided by a military spokesman in Kuwait.
There are currently six ATMs on Arifjan, with 16 others on camps throughout Kuwait; all of those ATMs are run by National Bank of Kuwait, officials said.
There is no official opening date for the bank branch on Arifjan, but officials said it would happen in the “near future.”