The leading private sector Akbank has reported a real 42.3 per cent increase in net profits in 1996 to TL 37.8 million million ($351 million at end- 1996 exchange rates), compared with a year previously. Total assets also increased in real terms over the period to TL 467.6 million million ($4,342 million).

The main contribution to profits came from a real growth in income from interest and loans by 25 per cent and 70 per cent respectively, Akbank says. The bank decided to concentrate on increasing loans during 1996, resulting in an increase in its market share to 4.7 per cent from 3.6 per cent a year previously. Akbank’s real loan growth in 1996 compares with an average of about 10 per cent in the banking sector as a whole, senior executives say.

Akbank has also concentrated on consumer services rather than products. It has introduced a so-called Consumer Associate System in the retail, private and corporate banking areas in 130 branches, and intends to expand this to 250 branches in 1997.

The bank decided in 1996 to make a major investment in new technology, executives say. In April, Akbank will be the first bank in Turkey to introduce home banking and personal computer banking.