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Kemal Kaya: A man on a mission

URBANE, INTELLIGENT, DYNAMIC and ambitious are just some of the qualities that characterize the up-and-coming generation of Turkish bankers who are driving the country’s banking sector towards a brighter, more prosperous future with all the power of the high-performance sports cars that adorn the car parks of the banking district in downtown Istanbul.

Their equally well educated peers in central and eastern Europe might be able to talk the talk just as well, but Istanbul’s young banking Turks can walk the walk with a sense of assurance born of having managed their way out of crises and subsequently having reaped the rewards of the boom times.

Kemal Kaya, chief executive of Yapi Kredi Bank, Turkey’s number four player measured by assets, could arguably be the archetype of the rising stars in the country’s financial services industry. Fresh from addressing a 600-strong audience of the bank’s branch managers, he exudes a confidence that threatens to convert even the most cynical observer into a fervent believer in the future wellbeing of the Turkish banking sector. Although seated on a plush leather sofa on the 24th floor of Yapi Kredi’s headquarters in the Levent quarter of Istanbul, it soon becomes clear that Kaya is not interested in building castles in the air but rather a banking group with strong financial foundations and with a strong profitability profile. Ask him what his primary goal in life is and in a nanosecond he replies: "To make Yapi Kredi the number one bank in Turkey.

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