We are here for our customers with the innovation in our DNA and our 360-degree service offering that draws from our customer-oriented business model.
In 2019, Turkey began to see the results from the economic balancing, particularly with the improvements in current balances and prices. The growth resulting in a current surplus was seen as an positive indicator with respect to the health of the economy. Meanwhile, global uncertainties began to dissipate towards the end of the year.
In 2019, Aktif Bank recorded one of the highest growth rates in Turkey with an asset growth of 32%; yet, our key source of pride in this achievement comes from the fact that we grew in a manner that creates value and employment in support of our country’s economy. It is safe to say that we have closed another financially successful year in which we managed to clearly outpace our competitors in terms of our agility and resilience as well as our financial indicators.
Aktif Bank’s innovation and customer-focus are essential parts of its DNA, and these naturally result in an investment banking model that is unique in the sector, enabling the Bank to utilize its resources optimally to drive efficiency. As the largest fintech ecosystem of Turkey, we are proud to create jobs in over 10 lines of business that we serve.
Thanks to our digital assets, extensive physical distribution network that leverages our business partnerships with leading players in the sector as well as our subsidiaries, we offer 360-degree products and services for various areas of daily life. For instance, Aktif Bank customers are able to begin their day by checking the status of their investments using the renewed N Kolay Mobile app, pay their bills conveniently, or carry out FX transactions. Those living in the capital can use public transport with the AnkaraKart Mobile app, without having to worry about their transport card balance. During lunch, they can log in to Passo Mobile app to purchase tickets for concert they have long been waiting for. In case they want to send money to a friend, they can conveniently do that 24/7 using Passo Mobile as well. They can decide to watch a game with friends in the evening, and book their seat in the stadium within minutes, using the Passolig system. And after they return home, they can get a good night’s rest in peace of mind, thanks to the security provided by Secom. These are but some examples from our extensive range of services. The fact that our customer base climbed from 8 million in 2018 to 10 million in 2019 is a testament to the success of our model.
Our scope is not limited to Turkey, as we are there for our customers in the most challenging regions. In 2019, we leveraged our unique approach in foreign trade to gain experience and go beyond banking services in the most challenging regions. Our Bank accomplished an important feat by increasing its trade volume with Africa from USD 300 million in 2018 to USD 450 million in 2019. We focused on improving trade between Turkey and Africa, and accordingly, offered our services to exporters via over 1,000 banks in 143 countries.
As an investment bank, Aktif Bank is well aware of the key importance of renewable energy for Turkey’s future. To date, we have provided cash and non-cash loans of USD 200 million to 38 renewable energy projects with a total installed capacity of 240 MW. Most of these are solar energy projects, but hydroelectricity and wind is also represented.
As always, we have maintained our support for Turkish football. We published the fourth issue of our Football Economy Report EkoLig, which explores revenues and economic outlook of the football industry. Working to improve the quality and standards in Turkish football and enabling digital integration between clubs and fans, Passolig card now has more than 5 million users. Meanwhile, the benefits of the Passo Mobile application, designed to enhance access to stadiums and downloaded to over 5 million phones, goes beyond the stadium today.
The new features, namely 24/7 money transfer using QR code, shopping and Kolay Packages were introduced to the masses with an advertisement with the slogan “Passo privileges, now beyond the stadium”. The ad attracted great interest, and was viewed over 10 million times on our YouTube channel.
Meanwhile, we carried the Passo experience to the world of entertainment and events. In this context, our deal with Zorlu Performance Arts Center to place Passo as a platform for event tickets is set to enhance the event experience of art lovers. In short, Passo has grown into an integrated and unique platform for not only football, but also cultural and artistic events. On the banking side of things, we maintained our focus on the investor aspect, same as all other areas of operation. Meaning that, instead of merely serving as an platform for ticket sales, we integrated into the system as a financial solutions partner for the event organizers. For instance, we go beyond selling concert tickets for world stars, we also help attract them to Turkey in the first place with the sponsorships we provide. One such event was the Bryan Adams concert in 2019, of which we were the main sponsor. We aim to enable more events in the coming period to bring the Aktif Bank brand to a wider audience.
On the subsidiaries side, E-Kent, a pioneer in developing and integrating smart urban solutions, continued to provide 1 billion smart transportation transactions per year through its transportation solutions infrastructure. More and more negotiations are being held with national football federations and sports club for exporting the E-Kent based ticketing system, which is characterized by its technological infrastructure and operational success. In 2019, UPT, Turkey’s first licensed payment provider, carried out 1.8 million transactions in 140 countries, achieving a transaction volume of more than TRY 5 billion. Turkey’s innovative insurance broker Sigortayeri continued the growth momentum of 2018 in 2019 as well, recording a 30 percent increase in the number of policies. Meanwhile, PAVO, drawing from its vast expertise in cash register systems, continues to offer its services through more than 200,000 applications and software integration. Echo Bilgi Yönetim Sistemleri A.Ş., set to become the “Next Generation Solution Partner” of the retail sector, continues to provide a robust infrastructure to over 2 million transactions per day. Mükafat Asset Management continues its rapid growth, and after a mere three years after its establishment, it now manages over TRY 1.2 billion in assets. N Kolay Payment continues to make a difference in the payment providers industry through over 570 N Kolay Stores and around 4,000 N Kolay Kiosks.
In today’s pace of disruptive digital transformation, we leverage the innovation and digitalization ingrained in our DNA to spearhead the change while other sector players are still looking for ways to adapt to the change through technological transformation projects. As always, Aktif Bank and its subsidiaries will spare no effort to create lasting value for our country, our economy and society in 2020, driven by our corporate culture that is based on technology and innovation.
Dr. Serdar Sümer