Georgian law does not make a distinction between commercial and investment banking. In other words, commercial banks are allowed to invest in securities and trade them on capital markets.
The legal framework for commercial banking is established by the Civil Code, the Law of Georgia on Commercial Banking Activities, the Law of Georgia on Entrepreneurs and the regulations adopted by the National Bank of Georgia (NBG). Commercial banking is one of the exceptional situations when the form of JSC with a two-tier corporate governance system is required.
The main regulatory body responsible for the control and supervision of commercial banks as well as other financial institutions (e.g. micro-finance institutions, credit unions) is the National Bank of Georgia. Along with this regulatory function, the NBG is also responsible for issuing commercial banking licenses within three (3) months of the application. There are two major requirements for a JSC to be granted a commercial banking license (i) evidence of having a minimum regulatory capital in the amount and (ii) compliance with fit and proper criteria of management.
Micro-Finance Organizations (MFO) control a significant share of the local commercial lending market, along with commercial banks. The status and activities of MFOs are presently regulated by the Law of Georgia on Micro-Finance Organizations, which represents the basic law in this field.
Similar to commercial banks, MFOs are subject to licensing from NBG and are required to have a mandatory supervisory board in compliance with the rules contained in the Law of Georgia on Entrepreneurs. MFOs are also required to have the form of a JSC or LLC and a minimum charter capital.