Akbank aims for summit of mobile, web banking service

Akbank aims for summit of mobile, web banking service

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey’s Akbank is hoping to increase its 15 percent share in the Internet and mobile banking market and acquire the top spot in the sector by consolidating all alternative banking arms under a new core unit.

The bank’s decision to bring the mobile and Internet banking services, which it calls “Akbank Direkt,” to the forefront, just next to the conventional banking services, fits into a wider, global trend in which the Internet and smart phones have become key to banking.

“By saving a substantial amount of transactions and employment cost for the banks, direct banking makes banking services cheaper, more accessible and transparent for the customers as well,” Akbank’s executive vice president in charge of Direct Banking, Orkun Oğuz, said in a press meeting yesterday.

There are currently 1.5 million Internet banking users in Turkey. Akbank, which invests an average of $100 million in technology every year, currently controls 15 percent of the market, but it is aiming to increase its share to 18 percent. Mobile banking will most likely be the focus of the drive, as the platform grew 10 times quicker than Internet banking, suggesting it could be at the core of banking operations within five years.

“We foresee that the share of Direkt banking within all operations, which was 26 percent in 2011, will become 42 by 2015,” Oğuz said.

However, this does not mean Akbank will shut down branches and shift the whole operation to mobile and Internet banking.The bank is seeking to gradually reshape the role of branches by transforming them into consultancy centers focused on commercial and investment services.

Akbank’s net profit reached 868 million TL with a 56 percent increase in the first quarter.