More Arab banks eye local chances

More Arab banks eye local chances

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
More Arab banks eye local chances

A customer walks past the main entrance of Bank Audi head office in Beirut. The lender owned by the Lebananese Sal-Audi Saradar Group has been the only foreign bank granted license to operate in Turkey in the last 14 years. REUTERS photo

Leading Arab banks are currently eyeing opportunities to penetrate Turkey’s growing finance market, the top executive of Union of Arab Banks said yesterday, adding that possible investors consider merger and acquisitions.

“Banks from Arab countries and Gulf countries are highly interested in Turkey,” said Adnan Ahmed Yusuf Abdulmalek, head of Union of Arab Banks. Emirates International Bank and Qatar International Bank are among the banks interested in starting up new banks from scratch, he said.

“If the barriers were eliminated by Turkish authorities, there would be many Arab banks and a large group of investors investing in Turkey’s banking sector,” he said, adding that Turkish banks would benefit a great extent through such investments.

“The interest from the Arab banks will be even higher now on,” he said. Bank Audi has been recently granted with a license to found a Turkey unit, he said.

Arab banks and investors have been encouraged by the decision for investing in Turkey’s banking sector upon the decision, he said, and possible investors consider founding new banks as well as merger and acquisitions with Turkish banks.

Bank Audi encourages Gulf banks
Abdulmalek said Lebanese Bank Audi gave the sign to other possible investors in Arab and Gulf countries to prioritize Turkey in their investments. Turkey continues to increase its influence both politically and economically in the region, he said.

“If the investment climate in Turkey’s banking sector improved and Turkey would authorize licenses for more foreign banks, leading banks in the region such as Dubai Islamic Bank would want to open branches in Turkey,” he said. The Arab Banks would be interested in operating in participation banking in the country.

Turkey’s Banking Regulation and Supervision Authority (BBDK) gave a license to Lebanon Bank Audi Sal-Audi Saradar Group to establish a bank in Turkey. Having been the only foreign bank granted license to operate in the country in last 14 years, the bank was authorized to collect deposits in Turkey with a capital of $300 million on Oct. 28.