Austrian Erste Group makes Istanbul a hub

Austrian Erste Group makes Istanbul a hub

VIENNA/ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Austrian Erste Group makes Istanbul a hub

Istanbul’s financial center Levent is seen in this aerial view. Erste Securities is located in this neighborhood. REUTERS photo

Austria’s Erste Group, which has more than 3,000 branches in eight different countries in Central and Eastern Europe, is looking to expand in Turkey in the equity brokerage and sales, structured products business and corporate finance services, its investment banking president has said.

“Turkey is the only country we have entered since the start of the financial crisis. We want to grow in Turkey, and we are in a very good shape in terms of capital,” Erste Group Investment Banking President Ingo Bleier said in an interview with Anatolia news agency.

Erste has used the global crisis to focus on expansion and has acquired many assets in Europe to enter new markets. “Through these acquisitions we have formed a complete network in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. In terms of acquisition we are looking largely at large financial institutions,” Bleier said.

Erste, Austria’s largest bank, had purchased Lehman’s Brothers Turkey brokerage license to enter the Turkish market back in 2009 under the name of Erste Securities.

“In addition to our key markets in Central Europe and Eastern Europe, we have branched out to Poland and Turkey. In these countries we are interested in investment banking and capital markets,” said Bleier, adding that there was a very low probability that Erste would purchase a bank in Turkey soon. He said he would not be surprised if the bank were to take such a step in the future, but that it was not an immediate option.

Bleier also said that Erste was able to receive much higher growth from Turkey than other locations, explaining that while countries in Europe were growing at a rate of 1-2 percent, Turkey was achieving a minimum 3-4 percent growth rate, making it a very attractive location. Erste currently has nearly 50,000 employees and 17 million customers.

Islamic Development Bank to also open Istanbul office

Meanwhile, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has announced it will open an office in Istanbul. The president of IDB, Ahmad Mohamed Ali al-Madani, told Anatolia news agency yesterday that Istanbul was on its way to becoming an important finance center and that the IDB would be opening a branch in Istanbul very soon to improve cooperation.

The IDB is an international financial institution established to pursue the aims of the Declaration of Intent issued by the Conference of Finance Ministers of Muslim Countries, held in Jeddah in 1973.