In the next years, we will ensure the position as one of the main banks in Serbia
In period of high-interest rates, high market competition, and bank mergers, HALKBANK has managed to maintain stable growth and its market position in all key balance sheet positions. This allowed the Bank to further develop and climb its way to be one of the main banks in Serbia.
Because HALKBANK a.d. Belgrade has been in business on the territory of Serbia since 2015, how can you describe its development so far?
With the aim of building a bridge between the Serbian and Turkish economies, HALKBANK started operating on the territory of Serbia in 2015 and since then has been trying to provide clients with an adequate response to all their financial needs, with various support systems such as development and implementation of the in-house processing system and personalization of the cards, establishment of the contact center with 24/7 support, even on Turkish language and introduction of debit and credit cards. From the moment the Bank entered the banking market of Serbia, various types of loans and saving products are available to clients, as well as numerous innovative services such as digital wallets and improved applications for mBanking and eBanking for individuals and legal entities.
In the last 2 years, in addition to the uncertain times that affected, among other things, the banking sector as well, a significant growth of HALKBANK Belgrade was recorded. How do you explain that?
The truth is that uncertain times have affected the banking sector around the world, as well as here. Still, I believe that our Bank has succeeded in keeping the existing level and improving the entire business system further. In a period of high market competition and bank mergers, HALKBANK managed to maintain stable growth and its market position in all key balance sheet positions. Besides helping us reach our targets, our mother Bank, Türkiye HALKBANK, has made a significant capital increase of 50 million euros during 2022, where the Bank’s total capital reached a value of 180 million euros. In the he last year and a half, 7 branches of our Bank were opened, of which 4 were opened this year, representing an increase of 20%, which we are particularly proud of. With that, the total number of our branches has increased to 43 in Serbia, and we are available to clients through more than 100 ATMs throughout the country.
The largest relative growth of loans compared to the beginning of the year is in the agro segment – 22%, and the sme segment – 8%
In which segment has the greatest development of the Bank been noticeable in the previous period?
We can easily say that the Bank’s growth and development in the past period took place in all fields, and therefore, it is difficult to single out just one segment. Bank placed EUR 243.8 million through loans mainly from the Bank’s potential to the segments that we can point out-business for large clients, small and medium-sized enterprises and agricultural clients. This implies a growth of 7% since the beginning of the year. The largest relative growth of loans compared to the beginning of the year is in the Agro segment – 22%, and the SME segment – 8%. In 2023, the Bank was also selected at the Public Invitation of the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Serbia for the participation of banks and leasing companies in realizing the Program of Support for Small Businesses for the Procurement of Equipment. Until now, HALKBANK has received over 130 requests in the total amount of around EUR 8 million, which will further improve the SME client base and enable further portfolio growth. Also, the Bank has continued cooperation with the SEF foundation and, in 2023, placed over 3.1 million euros in loans. We have also signed an agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture regarding subsidized loans for working capital and agricultural equipment, and it is the 6th year of the Bank’s participation in the program, through which significant results were achieved. There was also a noticeable increase in the number of new employees, where in the previous year, our Bank recorded a significantly lower turnover of people compared to competing banks. HALKBANK employees have numerous benefits, such as private health insurance, organization of various educational workshops, etc.
Since the end of the year is approaching and it is possible to review and summarize the results so far partially, what has marked the business of HALKBANK in 2023?
Because of the motto of the Bank is People first and foremost, our biggest target has always been giving to our clients the best possible quality of service, solutions for all of their financial needs and providing to them improved products and services. Year 2023 will be marked as a year in which the bank expanded its network of branches as well as continued the development of digital wallets, such as Xiaomi Pay and Swatch Pay besides the Apple Pay, Google Pay, Garmin Pay, Amazfit, Fitbit and Fidesmo.
Since the special edition of this magazine is dedicated to the 100th year of the Republic of Türkiye, how can you describe the relationships of the Bank with the Turkish official representatives in Serbia?
Since the beginning of our business, we have received strong support from Turkish officials in Serbia. We have excellent cooperation with the Embassy of Türkiye, which provides incredible support for the development of our Bank in this climate. In 2023, the Ambassador of Türkiye in Serbia, Mr. Hami Aksoy, has been present at the ceremonial opening of two new branches of our Bank, the Vojvode Stepe branch and the Sjenica branch. At the official opening of the branch in Sjenica, the Ambassador pointed out that he considers HALKBANK a national pride, representing them in the best light because it increases the number of branches throughout Serbia and contributes to employment. Also, HALKBANK contributed to the Embassy for organizing the celebration on the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Türkiye. The celebration was held on October 27, where we, on behalf of HALKBANK, had the opportunity to meet and greet all the guests.
Our biggest target has always been giving our clients the best possible solution for their financial needs
What are the plans for the Bank’s business in 2024? What will be in focus?
According to the strategy of HALKBANK a.d. Belgrade, the main focus will be set on the development of innovative products and services as well as on improvement and digitalization of the process, with a constant focus on raising business efficiency. Our goal in the upcoming year is to digitalize the entire business system in the Bank which means to offer possibilities of opening current accounts online, online loaning and depositing and even bigger mobile and electronic banking improvement. Per our motto, the Bank’s primary goal will always be the high quality of service for the satisfaction of the clients. Following this pace, in the next years, we will ensure the position of one of the main banks in Serbia.