At a press meeting in Ankara on Wednesday, Mukim Öztekin -- the newly appointed president of the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) -- noted that banks in Turkey has grown at an average rate of 10.5 percent over the past decade. “They are highly likely to follow a similar [growth] trend for the next 10 years,” he said, cautioning however that the priority must be the soundness of the financial industry. “For us, the health of the sector is equally or even more important than its growth. [Yet] I believe there is much progress banking in Turkey will observe,” he underlined.
Öztekin succeeded Tevfik Bilgin at the helm of the banking watchdog late last month. Turkish media previously quoted him as warning bankers in the country to not make gloomy remarks about the future of the sector. “Some say they don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Then why do you do banking? What kind of investment and entrepreneurial approaches are these? There is no such thing. Of course there are risks but we are making a lot of arrangements to minimize those risks, trying to help our banks become more protected against any risk. If there are still people uttering such words despite all our work, I only say that they cannot see if they are not paying attention. Those who do can clearly see everything,” Öztekin said in a Sabah daily report on Wednesday. He said in the report that he believes the banking sector has profoundly benefited from political and economic stability in Turkey, particularly after the 2000 and 2001 successive domestic financial crises. “We won’t show mercy to those who want to destroy this,” he was quoted as saying by Sabah. Other reports interpreted his strong words as a bold start to a position in which he will have profound weight against the banks and in relation to the way those lucrative entities work.
As of May this year, the banking sector’s total assets in Turkey were TL 1.27 trillion ($700 billion), up more than 4 percent compared to the beginning of the year. The total volume of loans banks have extended to corporations and individuals increased by nearly TL 70 billion in the first half of this year. “It’s one of our main targets to have more choices for the consumers and help them have access to banking services at lower costs,” he said at the press meeting.