Local banks earn unfair profits: TOBB chairman

Local banks earn unfair profits: TOBB chairman

KOCAELİ - Anatolia News Agency
Local banks earn unfair profits: TOBB chairman

The chairman of Turkish Union of the Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB), Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu. AA photo

The chairman of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) has criticized Turkish banks for making “unfairly” high profits by “remorselessly” raising interest rates, making them the most profitable banks in Europe.

“The problem [with Turkish banks’ profits’ explosion] is this: last year, their deposit interest surged by one point, but they raised the loan interests by five times the previous rates,” TOBB Chairman Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu said yesterday during a presentation at the annual Kartepe Economy Summit organized
by the Economy Journalists Association.

The lenders’ actions mean that while their expenses went up by just one point, the banks passed on the costs to their customers by a factor of five, he said.

“Of course we want them to make profits – we’ve even paid for their losses in 2001 [during the banking crisis] – but this is unfair,” Hisarcıklıoğlu said.

Obligatory membership

The chairman also responded to public criticisms of the obligatory membership to TOBB during his presentation, approaching the attacks with respect to membership fees, saying the membership fee to the union is the lowest in Europe.The obligatory membership issue has been debated in a broader sense as it makes TOBB’s position a key one in political balances. All businessmen are obliged to be a member of related chambers; this gives TOBB a great membership base comprising 1.2 million businessmen, thus keeping it as an ally becomes important. In his remarks, he stressed that TOBB represents 75 percent of national income, providing jobs for 12.6 million people.

TOBB's international presence to rise

Palestine is dependent on Israel as it buys almost 85 percent of its imports via the country, because of the obstacles Israel creates on direct imports, the TOBB chairman, who was recently picked by Israeli and Palestinian businessmen to co-chair the Jerusalem Arbitration Center (JAC), which mediates commercial conflicts between their business groups, said at yesterday’s event. He said international bodies, instead of national lawmakers, were now making trade-related decisions TOBB is forced to be active in as well. Now, decisions are made in Geneva not Ankara, he added.