Japan’s top bank BTMU sets course for Turkey

Japan’s top bank BTMU sets course for Turkey

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU), the largest bank in Japan, plans to establish a lending institution in Turkey, which would be one of only two new banks in Turkey in the last 14 years.

The founding of the $300 million bank is subject to the approval of the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK), Turkey’s banking regulator, according to Shoji Nakano, the chief executive of BTMU’s Europe, Middle East and Africa operations.

“We aim to achieve a loan volume of $5 billion within three or five years. And this is not limited to the Istanbul region,” Nakano told the Anatolia news agency in a recent interview.

BTMU CEO Nobuyuki Hirano “is pleased to announce plans to establish Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Turkey Anonim Şirketi, a wholly-owned subsidiary in Istanbul, the Republic of Turkey, subject to regulatory approval. Located at a central point between Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, BTMU believes Turkey to be of significant geopolitical importance. In terms of growth, the country ranks second only to China among G-20 countries, with a reported real GDP growth rate of 8.5 percent in 2011,” a statement on BTMU’s website reads.

In 2013, Turkey’s GDP growth rate is expected to be in excess of 4 percent, fuelled by both the consumer power of its population of almost 75 million people with a median age of 29, and the abundant work force it provides, the statement said.

BTMU has been present in Turkey through a representative office since 1986.

“We want to utilize the opportunities [in Turkey],” Nakano said. “We have reached some 80 percent of institutionalized Japanese companies in Germany and England. We can again reach 80 percent of such Japanese companies in Turkey.”

The company’s $300 million capital may increase over time, Nakano said. The lender may also be interested in reaching the Iraqi market via Turkey, because Turkey has an experience in the region, Nakano added.

Beirut-based Bank Audi became the sole foreign bank granted a license to operate in Turkey in the past 14 years at the end of last year.