Işbank posts solid credit growth, looks eastward

Işbank posts solid credit growth, looks eastward

ISTANBUL-Hürriyet Daily News
Işbank posts solid credit growth, looks eastward

İşbank Chairman Ersin Özince (2nd left), Minister Zafer Çağlayan (2nd right) and İşbank General Manager Adnan Bali (R) attend a ceremony for İşbank’s Russia opening. Hürriyet photo

İşbank posted strong credit growth of 43 percent last year and is preparing to open new branches in Iraq, Kosovo, Georgia, and Pakistan, the bank’s top executive said yesterday.

“We are planning to open branches in Baghdad, Pristine, Batumi and Karachi,” said Adnan Bali speaking to Hürriyet Daily News at the sidelines of a press meeting held in Istanbul. “In addition, our talks to acquire a bank in Azerbaijan continue. The bank’s representative office in China might also be turned into a branch if Turkey gets more plugged into the Asian market,” he added.

İşbank purchased Russian Bank Sofia in October 2010 for approximately $40 million. “As we proceed in acquiring a bank in Azerbaijan, we know that it could take some time,” said Bali, noting that the talks for Bank Sofia took nearly two years to finalize.

The bank’s international operations are complemented by the branch network of its German affiliate İşbank GmbH, which operates 12 branches in Germany, two branches in the Netherlands, and one branch each in France and Switzerland.

Bali noted that last year İsbank’s credit growth rose by 43 percent compared with 2010, reaching $91.6 billion. “We have slightly put the brakes on with regard to credit growth, but soon we will reach $100 billion this year,” he said.

Fast growth brings complications
According to Bali, fast growth signals no risk for the lender or the Turkish economy, as nearly 80 percent of the bank’s credits are commercial credits paving the way for more production and employment.

Despite strong growth in the credit line, the lender’s net profits fell to 2.7 billion liras last year from 3.37 billion liras in 2010. However, its net income rose by 43.3 percent in last year’s fourth quarter, reaching 864 million liras from 603 million liras in 2010.

The bank’s asset size also grew by 23 percent last year, reaching nearly 161.6 billion liras. It also opened 65 new branches across Turkey, employing 2,031 people in these branches, said Bali.

Bali also reflected on the speed of the Turkish economy’s recent growth. “Turkey’s strong growth is not a good sign, as growth at more than 6 percent is often followed by shrinkage,” he said while addressing journalists. Turkey’s gross domestic product is likely to be nearly 3.5 percent this year, he predicted. He said slower and more sustainable growth would help avoid the complications of strong growth, such as the widening of current trade and account deficits.

Turkey’s 2011 exports hit $134.9 billion, with an 18.5 percent rise from a year earlier. Its imports rose to $240.83 in 2011, marking a 29.8 percent increase from 2010.