Turkish lender Halkbank is set to add a new branch to its network in Serbia, where it already has a wide-range presence, a bank official told Anadolu Agency.
"On Oct. 29, the bank will open its very first digital branch in the heart of capital Belgrade," Kenan Bozkurt, CEO of the bank in Serbia said.
Halkbank is one of Turkey's biggest banks and a state-run lender. It bought a 76.76 percent stake in Serbia's local lender, Cacanska Banka, on May 20, 2015.
"This will be Halkbank's 33rd branch in the country, while the number of employees will be increased to 500," Bozkurt added.
The bank will also provide credit cards and POS (point-of-service machines) in December for its Serbian clients, as well as for the international businesspeople operating in Serbia.
Bozkurt said Halkbank had made great progress since its entrance into the Serbian market in October 2015.
"Halkbank widened its network throughout Serbia and grew more than 70 percent in three years and we have reached more than 450 million euros [$515.86 million] in size of assets.
"The bank’s profit is also increasing year-by-year," he said.
Focusing mainly on the real economy sector with a strong presence in retail banking, Halkbank also began offering agricultural loans in April 2018, Bozkurt added.
"Our client base is increasing every day and other cities ask us to open new branches. That’s why new branches in other major cities are also planned to be opened in 2019," he said.
The official added that Halkbank aimed to improve the trade volume between Turkey and Serbia, while their other mission was to serve as a commercial bridge between the two countries.
Ever since the bank entered the Serbian market, many business forums and workshops with the participation of high-level politicians -- including the two countries' presidents and ministers -- have been organized, Bozkurt noted.
Halkbank is the second-largest state lender after Ziraat Bank in Turkey, with 900 branches and 19,000 employees.
It is currently the biggest Turkish investment in Serbia, where it operates 32 branch offices throughout the country.
In 2014, the bank's assets were valued at over 150 billion Turkish liras ($60 billion) and its net profit reached 2.2 billion Turkish liras ($850 million).
Nearly half of Halkbank's shares are traded on Turkey's main stock exchange, Borsa Istanbul.
By Talha Ozturk in Belgrade, Serbia