ING, a Netherlands-based banking group, could buy a medium or large bank in Turkey in three to five years, according to the newly appointed chief executive of the lender’s Turkey branch.
Some important acquisitions will take place in the local banking business in the next three to five years, new CEO Pınar Abay said during a press meeting Friday in Istanbul as she officially took over the position from Wilfred Nagel.
The ING Group accepted a capital injection plan of 10 billion euros from the Dutch government in October 2008 in exchange for securities and veto rights on major operational changes and investments.
The bank later repurchased the major part of securities and rights. Still, it needs several years to pay back all of its debt to the state and regain the right to acquire other lenders.
Abay said ING Bank’s three goals in Turkey were to become the country’s most used bank, develop itself as a strong competitor and surpass all other rivals.
“We will be at a point where the big lenders cannot dare to enter,” she said.
Asked about criticism that ING Turkey was changing its chief executives too frequently, Abay said she hoped to remain in her post for a long time. Abay had been working since 1998 at the Turkey branch of McKinsey & Company, an international consultancy company, as a managing partner.
Nagel, meanwhile, said at the meeting that the big current account gap and poor savings could ultimately be to Turkey’s advantage in the event that the world economy experienced a second dip.
“Turkey is a country which grows with domestic demand and whose dependency on foreign demand is not high,” he said.
John McCarthy, the chairman of ING Bank, said Turkey would respond to a second dip strongly. “The private sector in Turkey is very strong and has managed to overcome many crises.”
ING Turkey plans to invest as much as 300 million euros to finance Turkish infrastructure projects next year, in addition to the more than $1 billion it invested in the past year, the lender said in a separate statement Friday.