Turkey a "top priority" for Banco Popular Espanol

Widely acknowledged as one of the most attractive banking markets currently, Turkey is a "top priority" for Banco Popular Espanol, Spain's sixth-biggest lender said on December 11. Establishing the first branch in the country is "top of the list" of Banco...

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Turkey a "top priority" for Banco Popular Espanol



bne - 12.12.2012

Widely acknowledged as one of the most attractive banking markets currently, Turkey is a "top priority" for Banco Popular Espanol, Spain's sixth-biggest lender said on December 11.

Establishing the first branch in the country is "top of the list" of Banco Popular's priorities, Juan Echanojauregui, head of international banking told a press conference, according to Bloomberg.

The Spanish bank joins compatriot Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, Spain's second-biggest lender, in growing its business in Turkey, where the industry regulator expects loans to expand 15-18% this year. The number of foreign and local banks operating in the country is expected to reach 60, the regulator said last month. There are currently 49 banks present in the market.

Banco Popular signed an agreement on December 11 with Turkey's Investment Agency to enter the market and on potential investments, Echanojauregui said. The bank opened a liaison office in Istanbul in May to support Spanish companies.

Europe's struggling banks are increasingly flocking to Turkey in a bid to source growth, which is absent at home. Banco Bilbao paid $5.8bn for a 24.9% stake in Turkiye Garanti Bankasi last year. Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy's biggest consumer bank, applied to the regulator to open a branch last month.

However, its not only Eurozone groups hunting for growth. Japan's Mitsubishi UFJ has made a formal application to enter the market, and Reuters reported on December 12 that the National Bank of Abu Dhabi is looking at acquisitions in several regional countries, including Turkey.

Source: bne


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