Our Bank set off on a very active new year in terms of banking operations while the effects of the pandemic are finally easing off globally with social life returning to normal. While the economic movement gained momentum, this period is still overwhelmed by the pandemic, high inflation and increasing commodity-energy prices which continue to be global challenges. The USA registered the highest inflation rate of the last 41 years, while Germany and France, the two largest economies of the EU, registered the highest inflation rate of the last 40 years.
The expansionary monetary policies launched during the pandemic and the commodity and energy supply issues prompted by the disrupted logistics chains triggered an escalation in global inflation. The Russo-Ukrainian conflict that broke out in February then further exacerbated these issues. The conflict between the two countries supplying oil, natural gas, and many strategic agricultural products including grains, marked the global economic growth. These developments once again reminded the world of Türkiye’s balancing and geopolitical importance.
While the tension leading up to hot conflict escalated, Türkiye concluded 2011 with an 11-percent growth and ranked first among the highest growth rates of G-20, the OECD and EU countries. As the economic precautions implemented by our country’s economy management to reduce the impacts of the global pandemic yielded positive results, the economic activity ongoing throughout the year broke records not only in growth but also in exports. This successful momentum was reflected in the first quarter of the year and we achieved an all-time-high export figure of 22.7 billion Turkish lira in March.
Concurrently with these developments contributing to our national current account balance, we launched new banking products under the guidance of the Ministry of Treasury and Finance and the Central Bank to relieve the pressure of foreign exchange on the inflation rate and to reverse foreign exchange trends in society. We expanded our investment options through the FX-Protected Time Deposit Turkish Lira Account, Foreign Currency Conversion FX-Protected Time Deposit Turkish Lira Account, and the YUVAM account addressing our citizens abroad. In addition, we developed new instruments to inject the gold savings ”under the pillow” into the financial system and introduced the Quarter Gold Coin Deposit Account and the Physical Gold Conversion – FX-Protected Time Deposit Turkish Lira Account, which offer both security and gains in line with market conditions to savings owners.
As Halkbank, we contributed immensely to the adoption of these new banking products during the first quarter of the year. We also focused on supporting the market activity through financial services tailored for tradespeople, artisans, different professions, sectors, and SMEs. We are particularly proud of the improved subsidies we have created for female entrepreneurs.
We announced the Halkbank Productive Women Competition during a press conference in January. Within a very short period, we received nearly 2,500 applications. We awarded successful female entrepreneurs who produce, invest, create employment and participate in export activities. We exceeded the target of 100,000 female entrepreneurs and reached, within a year, 105,000 female entrepreneurs and 10.7 billion Turkish lira in loan volume. Meanwhile, we launched our advantageous Paraf Productive Women Card for female entrepreneurs. We will repeat the competition and maintain our women-oriented projects in the upcoming years and strengthen our position as the “Bank of Productive Women.”
During this period when Türkiye maintained industrial growth and broke monthly records in export, we became a major actor funding the economy through investment, working capital and export loans.
We introduced six unique loans tailored to different entrepreneur models to contribute to the development of the entrepreneurship ecosystem, which is gaining importance in Türkiye and globally. We aim to facilitate access to funding by different entrepreneur groups with our Genç (Young), Cesur (Brave), Usta (Master), Tekno (Techno), Halk (People) and Esnaf Girişimci (Tradespeople Entrepreneur) Loans. Addressing a wide range of entrepreneurs of all ages and educational and experience backgrounds from university graduate young entrepreneurs to experienced professionals looking to establish their own business, we offer The Entrepreneur Tradespeople Loan with a zero interest rate with the support of the Ministry of Treasury and Finance. Thanks to our multifaceted efforts, the impact and scope of our alternative distribution channels including mobile branches, internet banking, SMS, ATM, and Halkbank Dialog are expanding daily.
We always focus on serving the real economy through our financial capacity. We value our meetings with sector representatives and the leading names of the business world. We visited the chambers of commerce and industry in numerous provinces under the coordination of our Ministry of Treasury and Finance. We started off in Bursa and continued our field activities in Antalya, Gaziantep, Izmir, Şanlıurfa, and Tekirdağ, where we listened to the needs of the business world to gain first-hand experience. We will continue these highly fruitful meetings in the upcoming period.
Motivated by our contribution and our responsibility towards the Turkish economy, Halkbank has set off to 2022 with efficient business results. Following a very dynamic period, our Bank boosted its asset size by 39.3 percent compared to the first quarter of 2021 and reached 965.3 billion Turkish lira. Total deposits, on the other hand, increased by 42.8 percent and reached 673.2 billion Turkish lira. Over the same period, our cash loans rose by 29.1 percent to 585.4 billion Turkish lira, and our total loans increased by 39.8 percent to 807.8 billion Turkish lira.
Guided by our fundamental mission and our national economic policies, Halkbank always stands with the tradespeople, artisans, and SMEs. In 2021, we issued a total subsidy to tradespeople worth 33 billion Turkish lira, and in 2022, 19 billion Turkish lira. We increased the number of tradespeople using our tailored loan for tradespeople to 1.2 billion and boosted the balance of our loan for tradespeople to 82.7 billion Turkish lira. The share of SME loans in our Bank’s total commercial loans reached a high of 50 percent while our market share in SME loans registered as 18.4 percent as the leading bank of SMEs. Our loan size in this category reached 245.9 billion Turkish lira.
Under the shadow of global inflation and the tension stemming from neighboring conflicts, we will continue to maintain our balance sheet quality and contribute to the accelerating momentum and sustainability of economic activities. We will maintain our effective presence for the benefit of Türkiye guided by our motto: “People Before Banking.”
I would like to thank all our valuable investors for your trust.
Türkiye Halk Bankası A.Ş.