The challenges and uncertainties in the world economy in 2016 activated finance and capital markets. Furthermore, the adverse conditions experienced in Turkey brought additional difficulties and fluctuations to the Turkish economy.
Despite all of the adversities, however, the magnitude of the Turkish banking sector’s assets displayed a nominal increase of 15.8% compared to the end of 2015 and exceeded TRY 2.7 trillion as of December 2016. In terms of sector profitability, performance was good with a 45% increase in profitability over the year before and net period profit at the end of the year standing at TRY 38 billion. The sector’s performance stems basically from the increase in net interest income and the cancellation of the extra provisions reserved in past years as a result of the series of macro interim relief measures that were undertaken. On the other hand, with the rapid increase of foreign exchange rates during the year remaining the main factor, the sector’s capital adequacy standard ratio remained the same as the last year’s.
The size of our bank’s assets rose by 26% in 2016, reaching the level of TRY 9.5 billion and exhibiting a performance that was above the sector norm. This growth is an indication of our faith and support in the Turkish economy despite the adversities that we regard as temporary. While growth was achieved, the profitability to support that growth was also attained; our net profit reached TRY 111 million (BRSA Standalone Figure), a 37% increase over the previous year. In 2016, we stood out as one of the most successful banks of similar size in the sector with our 11.15% average return on equity and our 1.30% average asset profitability.
As Turkey’s largest privately owned investment bank, we have continued in every period to actively support the Turkish economy. We have constantly presented our customers and the leading institutions of the Turkish economy with innovative business models, expert human resources and know-how and services in the areas of corporate banking, investment banking, retail banking and private banking.
At Aktif Bank, we know that seeing the possible inside the impossible is the outcome of believing in our dreams. Our business model of “New Generation Banking,” which forms the foundation of our achievements, is the essence of this perspective. It is the same visionary overview that allows us to position Aktif Bank as a bank with a wide perspective and to reinforce our strength with our subsidiaries that are active in the various sectors. In the knowledge that efficient use of technological opportunities will further our business model and create new breakthroughs for the country, in 2016, we were granted the status of a Research and Development Center by approval of the Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology. We hope that with this new identity, we will be able to offer the sector many more innovative products in the near future. Again in 2016, we established a subsidiary with Robotpos under the name of EchoPOS. Our aim with this enterprise is to create innovative cash register automation solutions for the retailing sector, becoming an effective solution partner and more important, using this method to contribute to payment systems with faster and more productive services, adding value to workplaces by making lives easier and ensuring cost advantages.
As an outcome of our New Generation Banking business model, we preferred the system of working with distribution networks that are effective in the market instead of branching out. Thanks to this choice, Aktif Bank and its Subsidiaries together form an institution with an annual track record of offering smart city and smart stadium services to a population of 50 million, providing about 2 million smart transit card sales and managing a total of close to 9 million smart cards, mediating for 1 billion transit card transactions, producing 1 million new bank cards, achieving approximately 1.5 million money transfers, 68 million invoice collections, TRY 90 million worth of premium production, over 350,000 private loans and 200,000 insurance policy sales.
The successful collaborations we formed in private banking, which needs a large distribution network, as well as our low and flexible cost-focused strategies have enabled us to reach similar levels as multi-branch banks in terms of the volume of our private loans and the numbers of credit card/debit cards in the area of private banking, where competition is keen and margins are low. As a result, while consumer loans in the banking sector grew by 6.5%, the growth rate of our bank’s consumer loans was 60%.
To increase our competitive edge in retail banking, we focused in 2016 on substantially developing our digital channels. Based on our belief in the digitalization of the future, our first attempt was to launch our 100% digital loan product, N Kolay Loan, at the beginning of 2016. We saw how well-timed this move was when we soon witnessed an inflow of loan applications totaling TRY 7 billion from more than 800,000 customers. We ultimately furnished 75,000 new customers with digital loans.
Another product of our bank, Passolig, achieved a 50% rise in 2016 over the last year, the number of cards reaching 2.5 million. Another project completed in digitalization was to combine all card and ticketing needs in a single mobile application called Passo Mobile. This application is planned to be launched in the first half of 2017 and in the first phase, we will be facilitating all financial and ticketing processes for football lovers under the Passolig umbrella. I wholeheartedly believe that in the next stages, there will be many new surprises in the context of mobile shopping, mobile stadium admissions and other perks related to football and that this application will make a value added place for itself among financial applications.
In the last year, we continued to generate strategies and financing solutions that would give us a competitive edge in corporate banking and investment banking. Within the scope of football financing, we achieved the financing, at a total of TRY 1.6 billion extended to dozens of our football clubs, of the construction of the Beşiktaş A.Ş. Vodafone Arena. Our investments and know-how in the area of football were published in a report called “EkoLig” which we published as a review of football revenues and the economic outlook of Turkish football. Additionally, blazing another trail in Turkey and in our awareness of our social responsibility, we sponsored the first “Sports Financing Certification Program” in cooperation with Bahçeşehir University’s Continuous Education Center (BAUEM) in order to answer the need for education in this field.
Aktif Bank and its Subsidiaries will continue to contribute sustainable value to all our stakeholders and to maintain our leadership role in the sector by focusing in 2017 on our human resources, the pivotal point of all our achievements, on our innovative concept of service and on our technological investments. In this context, I wish to thank all of our customers, employees and business partners who are all on this journey with us.
Dr. Serdar Sümer