Bank Asya faithful boost deposits after Turkey seizes lender


Date posted: February 6, 2015

ISOBEL FINKEL

he typical image of a bank under duress is a long line of customers trying to get their money back. In Turkey this week, it was a queue of people trying to put it in.

Sayida Kayipova went to a Bank Asya branch in Istanbul’s Gultepe neighborhood, near the main financial district, on Wednesday. A customer for 6 years, the 31-year old chemistry PhD student was opening an account for her 7-yr old daughter’s 150 ($62) liras of savings, joining a line of customers to deposit funds a day after the government had seized the lender.

“I feel like an injustice has been committed so I wanted to take a stand,” she said. “Swooping down in the middle of the night like that is an attempt to scare people and manipulate our perceptions, but it will only pull us together.”

Bank Asya has become a battleground in the feud between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and self-exiled, U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, a preacher whom Erdogan blames for instigating a coup attempt against him and whose followers founded the lender. Supporters of each have sought, by turn, to strengthen and weaken the bank.

TV reports of customers queuing to deposit money at Bank Asya branches after the takeover follow a similar phenomenon in September, when partisans of the Gulen movement advertised the sale of electronics, cars and even apartments with the stated purpose of putting the proceeds into Bank Asya accounts.

That was in response to months of pressure, which included the suspension of trading in Asya’s shares on Istanbul’s stock exchange and Erdogan telling businessmen that accusations of attempts to bankrupt the bank missed the mark as the lender was “already bust.” The government attributed the takeover earlier this week to Asya breaking banking regulations on transparency.
“They’ve sent money through electronic transfer, they’ve come through my door with cash in hand; sometimes it’s tens and sometimes it’s thousands of liras, but it’s been very busy,” Mehmet Fatih Alsac, manager of Kayipova’s Bank Asya branch, said. “It’s got to the point where it’s just not rational any more and people just want to support the bank.”

Larger investors have also stepped in to keep the bank afloat, contributing 225 million liras in a capital increase in November, even after the bank’s assets shrank by half and it recorded its first-ever unprofitable quarter.

Regulatory obstacles for Asya started after Erdogan and former ally Gulen publicly fell out over a corruption probe into senior members of Erdogan’s government, which the former prime minister said was a plot to unseat him. Erdogan purged thousands of members of the police and judiciary in response, and none of the charges have resulted in convictions.

In the aftermath of the corruption scandal, state-owned companies like Turkish Airlines said they withdrew deposits from the lender.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, speaking at a rally in northwestern Kastamonu province, said on Wednesday the takeover was completely legal. “Why should a religious congregation have a bank, a prosecutor, a legal arm, a media arm?” he said in reference to Gulen’s global movement.

Ahmet Beyaz, replaced as chief executive officer in the state takeover, countered in an interview in pro-Gulenist paper Zaman published early Thursday that the move was an attempt to scare depositors into withdrawing their money.

Where a run on deposits might be expected, a run of deposits seems to have materialized instead. People queued up outside the bank’s branches holding signs that said, “We’ll not stop, we’re here to prop it up.”

Still, customers had called in to check that their savings were still there. Like the elderly gentlemen who feared for the 25,000 liras he had gathered for his pilgrimage to Mecca and, while Turkey guarantees citizens’ deposits up to the value of 100,000 liras, there had been withdrawals, said Alsac, the Kayipova branch manager.

“We’ve ended the day up though, without a doubt” he said, adding that the bank was inviting a gold expert into the branch to value trinkets customers were expected to put into bullion savings accounts popular at the country’s four Islamic lenders.

Isik Okte, investment strategist at BNP Paribas’s local unit TEB Invest, witnessed the commotion outside Asya’s head office the day after the takeover. He saw riot vehicles and Turkish flags, as well as placards reading, “We’ve come to lie down in front of our bank.”

“It was surreal,” Okte said. “There were crowds of young people, and women who’d brought their families, and grilled meatball vendors who’d turned up to feed the crowds.”

Depositors’ support for the ailing bank was mirrored by stock market investors. While Turkey’s main index was the world’s worst performer, in dollar terms, Bank Asya ended the day after the takeover 3.3 percent higher.

Published on Bloomberg Business, and also appeared on The Chicago Tribune, 05 February 2015, Thursday

Source: Bloomberg News , February 5, 2015


Related News

Top AK Party official likens Gülen’s stance on peace talks to that of Mandela

Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Deputy Chairman Hüseyin Çelik has expressed appreciation for Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen’s support for ongoing talks with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), likening Gülen’s remarks to those of South African politician Nelson Mandela. In his latest weekly speech, broadcast on website Herkul.org last Sunday, Gülen said as long […]

White House denies remarks about Gülen attributed to Obama

In an unusual statement, the White House has accused Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of misrepresenting the content of his phone conversation with US President Barack Obama on Feb. 19 regarding the extradition of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who lives in Pennsylvania.

Turkey’s Curious Coup – positions of the Turkish Government, Gulen Movement and Turkey’s Western allies

Within days of the coup attempt, James Clapper, the then-Director of US National Intelligence, said that they had not seen any intelligence indicating Gülen’s involvement. Bruno Kahl, head of Germany’s BND foreign intelligence agency, said during an interview in March 2017 that he did not believe Gülen was behind the coup.

MHP asks gov’t how many state officials reassigned after graft scandal

Since the widespread corruption and bribery investigation became public, thousands of police officers have been reassigned or removed from their posts because of alleged links to the Hizmet movement, inspired by the teachings of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. In addition to the thousands of police officers, the government has replaced the prosecutors who initiated the investigation as well as dozens of officials at various state institutions, including public prosecutors’ offices.

Law firms press charges against Gülen in favor of al-Qaeda-linked group

Two law firms have filed a complaint against US-based Turkish Islamic scholar for allegedly orchestrating a conspiracy against a radical Turkish group that is believed to have links to Al-Qaeda.

9-year-old Turkish girl drowns while trying to cross Evros River

Nine-year-old Nurefşan Teke drowned on Thursday while trying to cross the Evros River with her mother Neslihan in order to reunite with her father, who had to flee Turkey five years ago due to an ongoing government crackdown on alleged members of the Gülen movement.

Latest News

This notable Pocono resident has been living here in exile since 1999

Logistics companies seized over Gülen links sold in fast-track auction

That is Why the Turkish Government could Pay 1 Billion Euros

ECtHR rules Bulgaria violated rights of Turkish journalist who was deported despite seeking asylum

Fethullah Gülen’s Message of Condolences in the Wake of the Western European Floods

Pregnant woman kept in prison for 4 months over Gülen links despite regulations

Normalization of Abduction, Torture, and Death in Erdogan’s Turkey

Turkey’s Maarif Foundation illegally seized German-run school in Ethiopia, says manager

Failed 2016 coup was gov’t plot to purge Gülenists from state bodies, journalist claims

In Case You Missed It

Russian Diplomat Assassin’s Sister Says Police School, Not Gulen, Radicalized Him

Islamic scholar Gülen urges followers to remain calm in face of insults

Greek broadcaster praises contributions of Gülen movement

TUSKON: Media raids discourage foreign investors

CSOs continue to condemn hate speech against Hizmet movement

Ministerial bureaucrats being purged over their alleged affiliations with Hizmet

Turkic Cultural Exchange and Community Dialogue

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News