Becoming finance base a hard task for Istanbul

Becoming finance base a hard task for Istanbul

BURSA - Hurriyet Daily News
Becoming finance base a hard task for Istanbul

Minister Mehmet Şimşek (L) is seen at a Feb 20 finance event in Istanbul.

Professionals from Turkey’s biggest lenders, participating in the 1st Uludağ Economy Summit, expressed their support for Turkey’s bid to make Istanbul into a regional finance center, while saying that the task will not be an easy one.

While London tops the list of world finance centers, Istanbul remains at number 62 out of 75, said Faik Açıkalın, general manager of Yapı Kredi Bank, speaking at the summit, held in the northwestern province Bursa. Since the start of the economic crisis in 2008, many foreign investors and financial institutions have left Dubai, Açıkalın added. “This is a chance for Turkey.” However, according to Açıkalın, Turkey’s dream will not be easy to realize, due to Istanbul’s current performance compared to its competitors across the world. “Despite the crisis, the list of Europe’s Top 20 finance centers includes Athens, but Istanbul does not appear on the list. Seoul, Shanghai and Singapore are in the list of possible candidates as global finance centers, but Istanbul is not.”

According to Serra Akçaoğlu, general manager of Citibank Turkey, Istanbul is one of the strongest candidates to become a regional finance center, compared with other locations in the region. “Compared with the many countries in the world, Turkey’s banking sector is shining,” she added. 

However, Hakan Ateş, general manager of Denizbank, said that Turkey still has a long way to go to increase the use of financial instruments in banking. “Internet banking penetration in Turkey is still at [only] 10 percent, and there is one automatic teller machine per more than 3,000 people,” Ateş said. 
“Istanbul could become the center for participation banking,” according to Abdullah Çelik, general manager of Bank Asya, noting that the share of Islamic banking in Turkey’s banking sector is still low, at 4.6 percent. He said that that share will reach 15 percent in a few years’ time. “The volume of participation banking has risen to $56 billion in the last ten years, from $4 billion,” Çelik added.