Bank Asya weathers withdrawals, says CEO
ISTANBUL - ReutersTurkish Islamic lender Bank Asya said it had weathered mass deposit withdrawals, which the media said were orchestrated by government supporters as part of a backlash against a corruption scandal blamed on an influential cleric.
Turkish media say state-owned companies have withdrawn 4 billion lira ($1.79 billion), some 20 percent of the bank’s total deposits, over the last month to try to sink the lender.
The government has declined to comment.
Bank Asya’s chief executive Ahmet Beyaz said the bank’s founders included sympathizers of cleric Fethullah Gülen, who officials say is behind the corruption investigation.
But he said the bank was not at risk.
“The deposit withdrawal was a significant sum, but new deposits worth more than half that amount were placed in the bank, making it possible for us to manage our liquidity,” Beyaz told Reuters in an interview late Jan. 21.
He said the new deposits came from ordinary citizens, supportive of the bank and its ethos.
Despite being a sympathizer of the U.S.-based cleric, Beyaz underlined that his bank did not belong to Gülen’s Cemaat religious community network: “This bank does not belong to the Cemaat. Its founders include people close to the Cemaat.”
Beyaz declined to say how much money had been withdrawn, but said the bank had been “comfortably positioned” on liquidity due to expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve would cut the stimulus that sent cheap cash flowing to markets such as Turkey.