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Revolving doors for foreign banks in Turkey

If Turkish banks have been overly cautious about expanding abroad, the same cannot be said for their international peers entering the Turkish market.

Foreign banks that have come into the market include global heavyweights such as HSBC, Citi and BNP Paribas, the latter through a stake in TEB. In addition, banks from the Middle East have been targeting the country, including Bahrain’s Al Baraka, which set up Albaraka Türk in 1984 and now has 113 branches, and Kuwait Finance House, which owns KuveytTürk bank.

Often these international banks have come to the market or expanded their presence through takeovers. HSBC, for example, established itself in Turkey in 1992 via the acquisition of the UK’s Midland Bank, which had entered the market two years earlier. In 2001 HSBC broadened its base with the acquisition of Demirbank, which at the time was Turkey’s fifth-largest private bank. The following year it bought consumer finance firm Benkar Tuketici Finansmani ve Kart Hizmetleri.

This year, Russia’s Sberbank announced that it was buying 99.85% of DenizBank from Belgium’s Dexia for TL6.47 billion in cash. The deal is expected to close before the end of the year and, according to a presentation by the bank in June 2012 to explain the deal, will allow it "to achieve meaningful diversification and capture synergies from Russia/Turkey trade and investment flows".

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