Chief Executive Officer, KFH, Mr.Mazin Al-Nahedh has stressed on the significance developing Islamic finance in the Turkish market to benefit from the Islamic finance growth which has become a corner stone in global economy. Many global countries are seeking to apply Islamic banking. There is a great opportunity to make Turkey a sharia compliant Islamic banking hub and a gate to market these services to Europe, Middle and South Asia. Once completed, this product shall represent a new era in the economic development and flourishing which Turkish economy is experiencing currently.
Mr. Al-Nahedh affirmed in a speech delivered during the 10th Turkish-Arab Economic Conference, held under the patronage of HE Chief Minister of Turkey Mr. Ahmed Oglo, in presence of the Minister of Finance Mr. Mehmet Şimşek that Kuwait-Turk is able to play its strategic role in achieving this vision taking into consideration the progress and growth which it achieved at all fields. Kuwait - Turk plays a vital role in bridging economic relations and cooperation among Turkey, Kuwait and GCC countries. The bank aims, through the license obtained recently to establish an Islamic bank in Germany to reinforce commercial and economic ties between Europe, Asia and GCC countries through Turkey and Kuwait.
He indicated that now is the time to further develop our cooperation and partnership which have started 26 years ago with the incorporation of Kuwait-Turk, and establish new prospects. We, at KFH, have long experience in Sharia compliant banking services supported by stellar creditworthiness and well-established relations with major banks worldwide. We are fully prepared and eager to cooperate with any countries and cities seeking to be a hub for the Islamic banking industry. This industry has become a highly significant sector in world economy with assets exceeding US$ 2 trillion and where global markets regard these products as a preferred choice for financing, such as Sukuk, Ijara and Istisnaa. We are fully prepared to cooperate to make Turkey a highly significant gate for Islamic financial services spanning across Europe, the Middle and South Asia. We believe that Turkey has the sufficient expertise and qualifications to play this leading economic role, which will be, if completed, a new era in economic development and enhance Turkey’s position on the global economic stage.
Concerning Kuwait-Turk strategy Mr. Al-Nahedh emphasized that “We have entered the Turkish market with the goal of establishing permanent partnerships and creating strong bonds, which would not be impacted under any circumstances. It never crossed our minds in such circumstances to exit the market or search for new investment opportunities in alternative markets despite all major facilities presented to KFH. We were fully confident of the capabilities of this country and its people.
He added that “Our main goal was to establish Kuwait–Turk in cooperation with the Turkish authorities and institutions. This bank was the take off point for our overseas expansion. The objective of which was never to seek maximum profits based on short-term plans, but rather to target a long-term strategic investment. Our strategy was aimed at rendering Kuwait-Turk as a beacon and testament to the long and well established relations between two friendly countries. We aimed to achieve cooperation, commercial and economic exchange, and strengthen economic relations between our two countries and between Turkey and GCC countries. We strongly believe that economic cooperation is one of the most significant instruments of friendship and understanding among world countries. KFH is always keen to add value in the markets in which it operates.
He appraised and highlighted the support which Kuwait-Turk has received from the Turkish government at all levels. This has reinforced and supported its goals of achieving full cooperation with GCC countries having a financial surplus and the Turkish market offering promising opportunities. As a result, deep-rooted partnerships were established, major projects and transactions were concluded, and exhibitions and conferences were held under Kuwait-Turk patronage.
Mr. Al-Nahedh affirmed that Kuwait-Turk’s journey has been very successful despite challenges. The bank commenced its business with a modest capital and few branches in presence of one or two banks having similar activities at that time. Sharia compliant financial products and services were something unusual at that time and not accepted in the Turkish market or worldwide markets. Today, Kuwait-Turk has more than 320 branches. Total assets of the bank increased by 20%-30% annually, thus reaching TL 40 Billion. The success of Kuwait-Turk has enabled it to expand into other markets including Bahrain and Dubai and it recently received a license to expand in Germany.
He indicated that the most distinguished and remarkable success the bank has achieved is represented in the new products the bank has introduced to the market. These products are considered as a milestone and a major development in the field of banking. Sukuk, for example, have been one of the most successful products. The bank has participated in or arranged a US$ 2 billion Sukuk deals as well as local currency Sukuks. Sukuk are considered to be the Sharia compliant alternative to conventional bonds. Sukuk have attracted the attention of several major Turkish companies as they have found them to be a highly effective instrument to finance their expansion and growth locally, regionally and globally.
Kuwait-Turk has succeeded in launching innovative new products in the market such as the Gold Account. This product addresses certain social traditions and customs as well as satisfies an un-met need in the market. Turkish people are always keen on owning gold and exchange gold as gifts. With this in mind, Kuwait-Turk introduced automated machines which are considered as the first of their kind globally allowing customers to withdraw and deposit physical gold through these machines.
The bank has managed to operate several automated branches providing a round-the-clock service. These modern devices are keeping up with the global trend to provide self-banking services using modern technical means.