As sentences like "Public banks have duty losses" are being consigned to history, public banks are on the agenda thanks to their record-high profits, total assets and the financial support that they have provided to mega projects since 2002.
The 2000 and 2001 financial crises profoundly rocked the banking sector, household economy and the national economy. The risks arising from the banking sector had a large part in the causes, escalation and effects of the crises. During this period, public banks announced a duty loss of TL 22.9 billion ($7.987 billion) as they provided loan facilities for agriculturalists, merchants, craftsmen, young and female entrepreneurs, as well as natural disaster aid in accordance with laws and enactments.
State banks have completed their balance sheet transformation thanks to the measures that were taken in the post-crisis period, and the regulations that were made later. Halkbank, VakıfBank and Ziraat Bankası obtained TL 70.985 billion of non-consolidated net profits in the past 14-year period. The total assets of these banks achieved a 10-fold increase and soared to TL 673.5 billion at the end of 2015 from TL 67.8 billion in 2002.
State-owned banks have offered more loan facilities to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), merchants and corporate companies in recent years, and they have played an influential part in the financing of mega projects that Turkey carries out as a part of its 2023 vision.
Public banks at the top in terms of profitability
Ziraat Bankası, the largest Turkish bank in terms of asset size, reached TL 5.162 billion in profits last year, an almost invincible success in the sector. The bank, which earned the highest income in the history of the banking sector, made TL 35.665 billion in total profit between 2002 and 2015. The bank's total assets saw an eight-fold upsurge and rose to TL 302.8 billion in the same period.
Halkbank, which made news for its duty losses in the past, has recently become the "bank of a producing Turkey." The bank reaped TL 20.7 billion of profit in the same 14-year period. Halkbank's earnings reached TL 2.315 billion and total assets reached TL 187.730 billion last year.
Thanks to its years-long transformation process, VakıfBank, which was founded to make the best of foundation resources in Turkey, has become a bank that understands the real estate sector, tradesmen and trade companies. The bank announced TL 14.6 billion of period profit between 2002 and 2015. It reached TL 1.9 billion of profits last year, and its asset size over the past 14 years skyrocketed to TL 182.9 billion from TL 12.7 billion - a 13-fold increase.
Public banks come to fore in mega projects
Ali Fuat Taşkesenlioğlu, the CEO of state-run lender Halkbank, spoke to Anadolu Agency about the transformation and future projection of state-owned banks. Taşkesenlioğlu said Halkbank operates in all spheres of contemporary banking, adding that it has grown at the same speed as the economy and has come to the fore in terms of mega-projects since 2002.
Stressing that the economy made great progress over the past decade thanks to measures that were taken to overcome the economic bottleneck following the 2001 financial crisis, Taşkesenlioğlu said: "We began accomplishing stable results in this period. We escaped the nuisances of the 2008 global economic crisis and became one of the few countries that were not obliged to provide capital support for any banks, including state-run ones."
Taşkesenlioğlu also said that Halkbank stands out among other banks in terms of mega-projects as a result of hard work, as its stakeholders encouraged the bank during both crisis periods. He said that the economy continued to grow thanks to the strength that it takes from the resistance of the banking system to global crises and became one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
According to Taşkesenlioğlu, Halkbank continues to make efforts to contribute to the development of the banking sector and capital markets to have a reputable position in both regional and global banking sectors. The bank aims to open 40 new branches and achieve 16 percent growth in assets and credits in 2016. It plans to have the highest corporate aspect credit growth performance and estimates that its deposits will grow 17 percent in 2016. With its robust capital structure, the bank also aims to gain important accomplishments and take firm steps toward becoming the most reliable Turkish bank over the next five years. Halkbank, which is currently one of the largest 200 banks in the world, is predicted to be one of the largest 150 banks in the world in 2020.
Bilgehan Kuru, Treasury Management and International Banking assistant general manager at state-run Ziraat Bankası, said public banks had been known for their duty loss receivables, high debt levels and structural and capital requirements in crisis periods earlier in the 2000s. Referring to work that was conducted to structure state banks and re-regulate the banking sector in the post-crisis period, Kuru said that Law No. 4603 enabled public banks to gear up for competition. He said that the bank determined business model and financial structuring as two main pillars with a project for change that was initiated after 2011. The project, which has been maintained since then, helped increase operational efficiency, time dedicated to customers and other resources. According to Kuru, the share of credits on balance sheets increased to 62 percent from 40 percent, and the share of securities declined to 21 percent from 44 percent over the past four years. He said that Ziraat Bankası aims to increase its credits above the sectoral average in 2016 and to increase credits to primarily support the real sector. He also said that the bank addresses small- and medium-size enterprise banking and the financing of industrial agriculture as its priority issues, adding: "We will be further improving our work to establish a true value chain that stretches between the financing of basic agricultural products and industrial agriculture and take part in this chain. Our new business model enables the development of agricultural banking, which is included among our missions. We are committed to redefining and implementing agricultural banking."
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