Participation bank opens branch in northern Iraq
(From right to left) Counsul Aydın Selcen, Governor Nevzat Hadi, Abdullah Çelik of Bank Asya, Deputy Finance Minister Reşit Tahir, Trade and Industry Minister Çelebi are seen during the opening af a Bank Asya branch in Arbil. Company photoBank Asya, a Turkish participation bank, opened its Arbil branch on Nov. 20 with senior officials hailing improving ties between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Turkey.
“We attribute a special importance to this region, and we show this by opening our first foreign branch in Arbil. The bank aims to support trade ties between the two sides,” said the bank’s general manager, Abdullah Çelik, during the opening ceremony, which was attended by Arbil Gov. Nevzat Hadi, Trade and Industry Minister Sinan Çelebi, Deputy Finance Minister Reşit Tahir, Turkish Arbil Consul Aydın Selcen and high-ranking bank officials.
Fifth foreign bank
Bank Asya is the fifth bank to establish a branch in Arbil. “The city hosts five Turkish banks and that shows there is peace in the region. The export volume – $4 billion – between Ankara and Arbil has doubled in recent years. We are happy to see Bank Asya in our city,” Çelebi said.
The city is important for the region, Hadi said, adding that they wanted to sustain good relations between the two sides. “Arbil is a trade center and has a bright future ahead. Trade conditions are also suitable for investors.”
Tahir said the administration was ready to provide support to Turkish banks.
“This region is one of the most important cooperation partners worldwide for Turkey,” Selcen said. “These are strategic and permanent relations, and Turkey embraces this region with its companies.”
Çelik said the bank was looking to capitalize on the housing push. “We have some projects regarding housing loans. If the conditions improve we are planning to introduce credit cards and ATMs before the end of the year.” He added that there was an interest in Turkish banks in the region. “There will be wealth coming from the oil. People are coming to northern Iraq to shop because there is instability in the south. Thus, Arbil became an oasis for Iraq in terms of its security.” Bank Asya’s assets amount to 20 billion Turkish Liras as of September and funds channeled into the economy have reached 24 billion liras with 247 branches across Turkey. The bank handles one-third of participation banking in the country and provides services to 3.7 million customers.