The bank has been weighing exiting from Turkey as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s administration exerts its control over the banking industry/Bloombergby Bloomberg
ING Groep, the biggest Dutch lender, is considering selling its Turkish business.
ING has held preliminary talks with potential advisers about the possibility of divesting Istanbul-based ING Bank. The Dutch lender also approached a local competitor late last year to gauge their interest in a deal, though it isn’t currently running a formal sale process.
The bank has been weighing exiting from Turkey as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s administration exerts its control over the banking industry, pushing commercial lenders to extend more credit to aid economic growth while forcing the companies to cut the number and size of fees.
HSBC Holdings is also considering leaving the Turkish market, where it has been operating since early 2000. The global banking giant had already announced plans to cut jobs in the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey as the latest part of its cost-reduction programme.
ING’s experience in Turkey has been mixed. Profit at the unit, the 12th largest of the country’s 47 banks, rose 39 per cent to TRL 1.47 billion ($238 million) in 2019, while assets declined slightly to TRL 57.1 billion.
Furthermore, the bank’s non-performing loans rose to 4.3 per cent on a total of EUR 10.6 billion ($11.8 billion) in Q4 2019, compared with 2.8 per cent a year earlier. Turkish loans make up about 1.5 per cent of ING’s total loan book. In 2018, the bank sold a bad loan portfolio of TRL 533 million to investors for a marginal price of TRL 10 million.
In Amsterdam, ING is seeking to replace outgoing Chief Executive Officer Ralph Hamers. That succession race could include Pinar Abay, the former head of the Turkish unit who was promoted to oversee the parent company’s biggest businesses in December 2019.