One of the world’s top 30 banks setting up shop in Turkey

Dutch giant of the banking world Rabobank, ranked the world’s 26th largest bank, has announced plans this month to open offices in Turkey, saying it sees the country as a growing opportunity.

The first Rabobank office will be in Istanbul and focus on the commercial sector, initially planning to provide trade financing and treasury services in the country. However, in a statement on an on-line news website, the bank said it could increase its presence in Turkey to four offices over the next few years.

Rabobank, which is the largest retail bank in Holland, received Turkish financial regulators approval to form a bank in the country with $300milion in capital last month, and now the bank is looking to expand in a market where other banks had a return on equity of 16 per cent in the first half of this year.

“The Turkish banking industry is highly developed and competitive, in our segment in particular,” said a Rabobank spokesperson. “Returns are important but for us the importance is mainly in its growth potential, the strategic location and export potential.”

Turkey’s banking sector has attracted an increasing amount of foreign investment in recent years, including from Gulf and Asian investors. Earlier this year, the Commercial Bank of Qatar (CBQ) acquired a 70.84 per cent stake in Turkey’s Alternatif Bank. Meanwhile, the Chinese Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the Japanese Mitsubishi Bank, Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo Bank and the UK’s Standard Chartered are also reported to be interested in having a presence in Turkey.

ING Group, another Dutch banking company, has also been active in the Turkish market since its acquisition of local Oyak Bank in 2007.

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