Halkbank serves as ‘bridge between Turkey, Serbia’
BELGRADE - Anadolu Agency
AA photoTurkish lender Halkbank has aimed to become a commercial “bridge” between Turkey and Serbia since buying a stake in the lender in May 2015, the bank’s general director for Serbia, Kenan Bozkurt, has told Anadolu Agency in an interview.
Halkbank is one of Turkey’s biggest banks and a state-run lender. It bought a 76.76 percent stake in Serbia’s local lender, Cacanska Banka, on May 20, 2015.
Bozkurt said Halkbank aimed to improve trade volume between Turkey and Serbia.
“Our mission is to be a bridge between Turkish companies in Serbia and Serbian companies that want to do business in Turkey or with Turkish companies,” he said.
He noted Serbia’s potential in tourism, agriculture and industry.
“Turkish investors are aware of Serbia’s potentials and they are entering the market together with Halkbank. This will contribute a lot to the country’s economy, exports and employment,” he said.
He also spoke about Halkbank organizing meetings for prominent Turkish and regional businessmen under “Halkbank Meeting Days” to improve such cooperation between the two countries.
Halkbank operates with 400 employees and currently has 28 branches and offices throughout Serbia and four new branches to be opened by the end of March.
“Our goal here is to take a part in all the major cities in the country to cover Serbia entirely,” Bozkurt said.
Halkbank opened its first branch in Serbia in October 2015.
Halkbank is the second-largest state lender after Ziraat Bank in Turkey with 900 branches and 19,000 employees.
In 2014, the bank’s assets were valued at over 150 billion Turkish liras ($60 billion) and its net profit reached 2.2 billion Turkish liras ($850 million).
Nearly half of Halkbank’s shares are traded on Turkey’s main stock exchange, Borsa Istanbul.