Turkish state lender Halkbank is set to add a new branch to its network in Serbia, where it already has a wide-ranging presence.
On Oct. 29, the bank will open its very first digital branch in the heart of the capital Belgrade. The first branch in Serbia was opened in October 2015. Halkbank is one of Turkey's biggest banks and a state-run lender. It bought a 76.76 percent stake in Serbia's local lender, Cacanska Banka, on May 20, 2015. This will be Halkbank's 33rd branch in the country, while the number of employees will be increased to 500.
The bank will also provide credit cards and POS (point-of-service) machines in December for its Serbian clients, as well as for the international businesspeople operating in Serbia.
Kenan Bozkurt, CEO of the bank in Serbia, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that Halkbank has made great progress since its entrance into Serbian market in 2015.
"Halkbank widened its network throughout Serbia and grew more than 70 percent in three years and we have reached more than 450 million euros [$515.86 million] in size of assets.
Halkbank also has begun giving agricultural loans since April 2018, according to Bozkurt. "Our client base is increasing every day and other cities ask us to open new branches. That's why new branches in other major cities are also planned to be opened in 2019," he said.
He also said that Halkbank aims to improve the trade volume between Turkey and Serbia, while their other mission was to serve as a commercial bridge between the two countries. Ever since the bank entered the Serbian market, many business forums and workshops with the participation of high level politicians - including the two countries' presidents and ministers - were organized, Bozkurt noted.
Halkbank is the second-largest state lender after Ziraat Bank in Turkey, with 900 branches and 19,000 employees.
It is currently the biggest Turkish investor in Serbia, where it operates 32 branch offices throughout the country.
In 2014, the bank's assets were valued at over 150 billion Turkish liras ($60 billion) and its net profit reached 2.2 billion Turkish liras ($850 million).