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New Akbank CEO: “A lot of untapped potential in mortgages”

Hakan Binbasgil, chief executive at Akbank, exclusively tells Euromoney he sees potential in Turkey’s nascent mortgage market

The new CEO of Turkey’s Akbank has hailed the region’s mortgage market as a leading sector for potential growth.

"There’s a lot of untapped potential in mortgages,” says Hakan Binbasgil, who was appointed the chief executive of Akbank at the beginning of the year and replaced Ziya Akkurt, who had been CEO since 2009.

“Due to high interest rates, this market could not grow much. Instead, parents have saved up to buy a house for their children. But now, with more affordable interest rates, this is changing. People can afford to buy their own property at a younger age.”

While real-estate construction is booming, particularly in Istanbul, mortgage penetration is low, mortgages are only around 6% of GDP and average loan-to-value ratios are around 65% – while legislation prevents them being any higher than 75%.

Binbasgil also spoke exclusively to Euromoney about how Akbank is choosing to remain domestically focused, despite having subsidiaries in several countries, including Germany and the Netherlands.

“Most of our activities are domestic,” says Binbasgil. "There are potential opportunities outside Turkey, but are they as good as the ones here? We have great capability for indigenous growth. We don’t want to lose our focus on that. But we are carefully tracking what is going on in the region."

For more in-depth coverage and full interviews from Turkey, check out the March edition of Euromoney magazine.

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