The young Turkish Republic was established during a time of war, economic depression, and poverty.
World War I, the Turkish War of Independence, and the Great Depression had pulled Turkey into a situation of dire economic conditions resulting from the shortage of goods, the high cost of living, and the pressure of high interest rates. Aware of the importance of a balanced social structure, the young Turkish Republic sought to support small traders and artisans to develop public banking. The economic difficulties in the first years of the Republic – the consequences of insufficient capital accumulation, limited fields of production and the inadequacy of the private sector - hindered the formation of loan associations that could nurture tradesmen, artisans and small business owners.
Halkbank was incorporated in 1933 under the Statute 2284 concerning Halkbank and People’s Funds, with the intention of transferring resources under favorable conditions to tradesmen, artisans and small business owners and triggering capital accumulation; for both a long-lasting economic development and for preserving social equilibrium. The bank began offering services in 1938.
The following quotes of the great leader, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, had a guiding role in establishing Halkbank and, as always, directed us in our efforts:
“It is necessary to establish an association that will provide small traders and large industrialists with the loans that they’re in need of, easily and at discount; and it’s also necessary to try and attempt to depreciate loans under normal conditions,” and “You, artisans, when the day comes that I witness great factories being built in place of your small shops, I’ll be elated to the highest degree.”
Evolving along with the cooperative movements that were also developing in different countries throughout the world, public banking started in Turkey with the establishment of Halkbank. The bank provided loan services via the People’s Funds; financed between 1938 and 1950.
After 1950, Halkbank was authorized to directly open branches and grant loans to customers. By the beginning of 1964, Halkbank had embarked upon an ambitious program where it increased capital and became more active by establishing a nationwide network of branches. The result was a progressive rise in the bank's deposit and lending volumes. In the banking industry, Halkbank became the first bank for the middle class and its representatives in the economy, i.e., tradesmen, artisans, and small businesses. Halkbank’s basic loan policy was primarily based on facilitating loans to this demographic and improving the conditions for using them; the Bank added services each year, reaching an important position in the banking industry.
Türkiye Öğretmenler Bankası (Töbank) in 1992; Sümerbank in 1993; and Etibank in 1998 were all transferred to Halkbank. In 2000, public banks began the restructuring process necessary to operate in line with the requirements of modern banking and international competition, and to prepare for privatization.
The Public Banks Joint Board of Directors, established in April 2001, changed the organizational structure of Halkbank and acted with the objective of making Halkbank a profitable and efficient institution operating within the framework of modern banking principles and commercial banking rules, and creating added value for the economy. In accordance with this objective, Halkbank completely changed its organizational structure to comply with the requirements of modern banking and international competition. Customer oriented marketing programs were supplemented with a highly operational banking approach.
In 2001, 96 branches of Mülga Türkiye Emlak Bankası were transferred to Halkbank. In the second half of 2004, Pamukbank was transferred to Halkbank. The Halkbank-Pamukbank integration was completed flawlessly, far ahead of schedule – considered exemplary in the banking industry. The new structure addressed customer segmentation, providing advantageous products and services, particularly to SMEs and middle- and upper-income private customers as the adoption of a customer-oriented quality service approach became more prominent. In the meantime, the Turkish banking industry was being reshaped in the 2000s, with acquisitions, mergers, and foreign investors entering the market.
Today, Halkbank serves its clients through nationwide branches, offices, special transaction offices and with foreign reresentatives. As bank with a mission, Halkbank will continue to support the tradesmen, artisans, and SMEs who are the foundation of Turkey, as well as all entrepreneurs who contribute to investment and employment, with a modern banking approach. Halkbank will continue to be known as one of the industry’s strongest and most reputable institutions.