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Banks face up to the capital crunch

Engin Akçakoca, the new director of Turkey's banking regulation and supervision agency, takes on the challenges of reforming the Turkish banking system, which is suffering from a deficiency of capital.

       
Engin Akçakoca

Sometimes the worst thing that can happen to someone advocating reform is to be told to go ahead and organize it. This is what seems to have happened to Engin Akçakoca, the new director of BDDK, Turkey's banking regulation and supervision agency.


The last time Euromoney interviewed Akçakoca he was sharply critical of lax supervision and bad governance and waxed lyrical about the need for reform. The ex-Citibank and American Express banker was then general manager of Kocbank, a medium-size bank owned by Turkey's richest family, the Kocs. Less than two years on he is chief regulator. But the system he wanted to change has become so frail that he is administering first aid, not proper surgery.


"The situation is far from ideal," he says bluntly. "The Turkish banking system has lost its capital base." Rating agency Fitch agrees: "Capital is the critical issue for the future of the banking system," proclaims a recent report.



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