Third Turkish Bank opens in Kosovo

Interviewed by: Evliana BERANI /infoglobi

IS Bank”, the leading bank in Turkey is third one that opened its branch in Kosovo where banking sector comprise of 10 commercial banks overall.

Prishtina: In an exclusive interview for Info Globi, Adnan Bali, general director of “IS Bank”, said that this bank aims at providing bank services to corporations and businesses. Bali see Kosovo market as a ‘channel and bridge to broader European market’.

InfoGlobi: Whose idea was to come and launch the ‘Turkay IS Bankay’ branch in Kosovo?

Bali: We have been implementing a long time strategy in terms of our international presence.  In that sense we have been very active in different regions and countries, including Middle East countries, North African countries, Central Asia such as Azerbaijan, and of course including Balkans. We see the Balkans as a channel, as a bridge to the Europe. Especially in terms of the Turkish business dynamism, in these countries we as a leading institution we are going to follow the parallel strategies with our customers.
This bank is the largest player in Turkey, in terms of loans, bank equity and in terms of many banking indicators. Therefore we identify ourselves as a Bank of Turkey. But this concept is not limited by the domestic market.  In that sense we are going to diversify our banking activities in different countries. We have a certain models that build upon the measurable indicators and criteria. Kosovo is one of the target markets for us. Within the period of one year, we have completed all the processes. This also shows the friendly atmosphere here, especially in terms of bureaucratic principles and mechanisms and the performance of governance, of course. In many other countries we haven’t seen such a good performance. We are going to give our commitment to this market.

InfoGlobi:  Knowing that Kosovo has multifold problems such as high level of poverty and high rate of unemployment, many investors see it as country with high level of risk for investment.  The fact that you are here today, speaks that you do not agree with such thinking, no?
At the same time it shows the opportunities, entrance opportunities in this market. From the pessimistic view it can be seen as a problem, but from our perspective it is a perspective and a big opportunity. As you know, if you put in such markets commitment based on a long term vision, than there is no doubt that you can change many things.

InfoGlobi: In terms of financial value, how big initial investment  of the bank is at this stage ? How many people will work in the Kosovo branch and what do you see as an added value that IS Bank can bring to kosovans that they already don’t have from other banks?

Bali: At the first stage we are employing six people, but we are going to revise staffing plan, according to the potential market. IS Bank by having very large know how expertise, we are going to use our comparative advantages for this market. In total we are planning to place here 3.4 million dollars. This is reasonable amount of money having in mind the size of the country. If needed, we can change all this figures within short period of the time. infoGlobi: Let’s go back shortly to last part of the question, to added value for the people living in Kosovo. What is new or different that this bank is bringing to local population and in a country that already have 9 other commercial banks? We are going to give, commercial loans, corporate loans. We are going to take all this positions as bank and we are sure that they will create a value for both, Kosovo people and for Turkey itself, as well as it will result with increased value for the cooperation amongst relevant actors of the business community itself.

InfoGlobi:  One of the biggest concern for the people and business community here are high banking interest rates. Will it be the same with IS Bank?

Bali: Always we are doing our business by taking into consideration the different interests of counterparts. In that sense we are going to compete in very competitive basis and to provide services.