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BLOG Banking in Turkey

17 March 2023 / Lifestyle


Banks in Turkey

Banks are essential to any country's economy, and Turkey is no exception. Banking accounts for 88% of Turkey's financial sector, with 51 business brands operating under the Turkish Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency and belonging to the Banks Association of Turkey. The banks' various sectors include public, business and private deposit, foreign deposit, public, foreign and private investment banks, and participation banks ensuring every walk of society has a wealth of choice at their fingertips.

These banks offer numerous financial products and services, including savings accounts, checking accounts, credit cards, and mortgages. Therefore, when banking in Turkey, either for business or personal reasons, do your research and compare different banks to find one that best fits your needs.

                                       What to Know About Banking in Turkey

History of Banks in Turkey

The modern banking system in Turkey dates back to the 1850s during Ottoman times. However, the country's banking system has undergone significant business changes since then, with the government enacting several laws to regulate the sector. As a result, Turkey's diverse banking system today includes state-owned, private, and foreign business banks.

Turkish banks now offer loans, savings accounts, credit cards, and online banking to individuals and most business sectors. Furthermore, Turkish banks are now among Europe's five largest banks and rank in the top 100 global banks.

The banking sector contributes significantly to Turkey's business, growth and development by financing businesses, helping them expand and creating jobs. Turkey's state-owned and private banks excel in digital banking, making transactions convenient and easy. In addition, implemented regulations ensure stability for financial institutions, while Sharia-compliant Islamic banking provides an alternative.

What is the Central Bank in Turkey?

The central bank, established in 1930, conducts monetary policy in Turkey. The bank's primary objective is stabilising prices. A board of business directors oversees the bank, with the governor as the bank account chief executive officer. The Central Bank underwent changes and reforms to operate smoothly in modern times. A significant change occurred in 2001 when the CBRT became an independent institution allowing the bank to operate without political interference.

They set interest rates, manage money supplies, lend, and conduct open market operations. This includes licensing and supervising banks, ensuring they operate their business safely and soundly, and protecting the interests of depositors. Finally, the CBRT manages Turkey's foreign exchange reserves in currencies like the US dollar, euro, and Japanese yen. These reserves stabilise the Turkish lira and ensure sufficient foreign exchange to meet international obligations.

Akbank in Turkey

Best Banks for Foreigners

There are many banks in Turkey, including both domestic and foreign-owned banks. Some large international banks here in Turkey include:

Akbank: Private Akbank, which opened in 1948, offers various banking services, including personal, investment and business, private banking, asset management and insurance. The bank's digital services, competitive interest rates and fees earn countrywide admiration. Akbank operates through branches across Turkey, subsidiaries and affiliates in other countries.

For online banking, Akbank Direkt allows account customers to make transactions, purchase, and manage finances online. In addition, Akbank participates in corporate social responsibility initiatives, sustainability and environmental practices. Overall, Akbank's strong market presence makes the institution reliable.

Garanti BBVA Turkish Bank: Garanti BBVA, commonly referred to as Garanti Bank, opened in 1946. Since then, Garanti has become a leading provider of financial services offering retail, commercial, business and investment banking, and wealth management. Garanti Bank's digitalised services benefits account customers with convenient and secure online banking options.

Private Garanti Bank offers personal, business, SME, corporate, and investment banking. The bank excels in innovative and technology-driven approaches to banking and capital markets. Garanti Bank also excels in customer satisfaction and is committed to providing customers with personalised and high-quality service.

Yapı Kredi Turkish Bank: YapI Kredi, a nationwide commercial bank in Turkey, is the country's fourth largest publicly owned bank, having previously acquired the Koc bank.  First opening their doors in 1944, bank account business services include cash and finance credit, treasury, assets under management, leasing, private pension funds, vehicle, housing and consumer loans and non-life insurance. With 835 branches in Turkey that service 13 million people, they also offer a finance pension plan and life insurance, and they have a sister company that provides health insurance.

Ziraat Bank in Turkey

Ziraat Bank: The state-owned Zirat bank first opened in 1863, specialising in commercial, business, vehicle and housing loans. By 1888, they had become the first Ottoman agricultural empire bank, providing loans to farmers. However, the Turkish war of independence halted their expansion, with splits happening between one branch in the major centres. After the war, business resumed with cash financing for the agricultural industry. Absorbing the Emlak Bank in 2001 and opening in Moscow, Kazakhstan, Turkmen and Uzbekistan, they have over 1500 branches.

Private Banking with Halkbank: Halkbank first opened in 1933. Although founded as a state bank, it acquired many smaller banks. Eventually, it started trading as a publicly traded business. However, the major shareholder is the Turkish government. Offering many money loans to account firms and consumers, the bank underwent numerous scandals over the last 20 years. Moving their headquarters from Ankara to Istanbul in 2015, they now have just over 1000 branches around Turkey.

HSBC Bank and Branches: Starting as the Midland bank in the 1990s, HSBC was the first foreign British bank to open in Turkey. Any foreign customer wishing to bank with them should be aware that despite being part of the same bank, the country operations are different. They currently have 77 branches in Turkey and offer many services. Most branches also have English-speaking personnel. Foreigners like HSBC pay utility bills, get debit cards, manage financial situations and current open accounts. Many foreigners also use HSBC for investment banking in gold.

Opening a Bank Account in Turkey

Documents needed are…

  • Passport. The bank will take photocopies for their records.
  • Turkish Tax Identification Number - Known in Turkish as a Vergi Numerasi, property buyers will already have one. Otherwise, the local Tax office (Vergi Dairesi) issues numbers immediately.
  • Proof of address, like electricity or water, issued within the last three months.

Final Thoughts

So, as you can see, anyone who wants to manage their finances has a wide choice of banks to choose from. Knowing this, take your time to do some research. Each bank has a website listing items like current interest rates and foreign exchange currencies. Additionally, it is all listed there if you want to invest in gold or silver or buy a pension or health plan.

Also, about Money in Turkey

How to Receive Money: There are a few good options for receiving money in Turkey. So you don't pay hefty bank transfer fees and get low exchange rates. Therefore, your decision is not about how to receive the money but how to get it quickly and for the lowest transfer fee possible. In addition, how to get the best rate possible to receive the cash in Turkish lira instead of another currency.

How to Exchange Money: When exchanging money in Turkey, there are some fast ways to get the best rate. Gone are the days of tiresome travel cheques to get Turkish lira. These are hardly used, and many places won't take them anymore. The quicker methods give better rates from your home currency into the Turkish lira.

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