When the Ottoman Empire adopted the European model in the field of commerce and finance in the first half of 19th century, European banks started to make business in the Empire lands. There was not sufficient accumulation of capital that would permit the establishment of a national banking system then, and there were barely talks of national banks which would serve as fund resources. As there was not a powerful corporate financial structure that investors and farmers could use, they were in constant need of consumer loans.
First attempts to address this problem were taken by Mithat Pasha, the then Governor of Nis in Yugoslavia which was ruled by the Ottomans then. Mithat Pasha emphasized that an organization in the financial area was a must and that a state aid was essential to rescue the farmers from the usurers. However, this aid should be certainly supported by a civil movement. This way, an organization called “National Funds” was created in 1863 with the funds raised by farmers but with the state help and protégé under Mithat Pasa’s leading role. It is safe to say that this is the first model of a national banking in Turkey.
1901: A “Mutual Aid Fund” in Cyprus
What Mithat Pasa did in Nis was repeated by Kantarci Kamil Effendi in Cyprus in 1901. Kantarci Kamil Effendi had already observed that the society was in dire need of an economic solidarity and thus proposed that a “mutual aid” fund would be created, a fund that was similar to the tried and proven one in Nis. The then farseeing and philanthropic people founded Nicosia Savings Box under the presidency of Muftu Hacı Hafiz Ziyai Effendi. The Box resolved that it would collect one Schilling from the public as custody every week and would collect and save them under Haci Ibrahim Effendi’s supervision. Those small savings collected from the people started to reach huge amounts. The Box not only helped those who were in dire need for means of living but also supported Turkish tradesmen who were having financial difficulties by lending loans to them.
Nicosia Savings Box completed its fifth year and somehow proven its existence.
1906: New Work Place, New “Fund Trustee”
In 1906, Akacali Raif Effendi was selected as the new fund trustee to replace Haci Ibrahim Effendi at a salary of 3 Cyprus liras a month. The Fund then moved to a new rented shop at Tuccar basi Bazaar where it would spend 7 years.
1913: Capital Injection…
In 1913, the then available revenues turned out to fall short as the business operations grew and those who were seeking financial support were on the rise. Then a noticeable event took place for the Box, which were seeking new sources of income. Out of the sums donated by Debbag Dervish Effendi to the education fund, a sum of 2,500 Cyprus liras was transferred to the Box
During the ten years after Mr Retmi was elected as the president and Mr. Hulusi as the assistant reporter, the Box overcame several difficulties and maintained its operations. During the same term., the Box moved to a shop across the current Foundations Administration.
1915: Towards a Bank…
Having taking steps toward a bank formation as of 1915, the Box was converted to a limited liability company under the name of The Nicosia Moslem Savings Bank Ltd with a nominal capital of 40.000 Cyprus liras in 1925 in accordance with the “Limited Liability Companies Code” in Nicosia. Its capital was divided into shares, each one with a value of 5 Cyprus liras, and this capital was registered.
1927: New Staff on Duty…
After Mr Retmi resigned his office in 1927, Pencizade Mr Suphi took over the company’s management and kept the office until 1932. After him it was the turn of Mr Behic, who worked for five years. It was during those times that Sir Mehmet Munur (the foundation delegate), Kofünyeli Hasan Hilmi, Ahmet Pertev and Huseyin Cahit gave their enormous support as the inspectors.
1937: Times of Crisis…
The Bank had already undergone times of crisis before due to various reasons. The 1915 crisis was circumvented by borrowing debts from the Ottoman Bank. In 1937, another big crisis erupted and the management was simply in a bad position. But thanks to outstanding efforts by the managers and the huge support to the management the Bank managed to go ahead…
1938: Modern Managers…
While the bank was now a duly formed company, the then bank managers decided to elevate the bank to a status that would meet the public needs as the bank was built on the concept of the “Box”. As a first step, Mr. Ibrahim Orhan was appointed as the manager on the condition he would specialize on banking and was sent to Turkiye Is Bank for a trainee term. Mr. Ibrahim Orhan finished his internship and returned to Cyprus in 1939 after he was certified, and took the helm at the Bank. Mr Ibrahim Orhan kept his office at the bank until his retirement in 1972.
1943: Lefkoşa Türk Bankası Ltd.
A new management concept was introduced for the bank during the management of Mr. Ibrahim, and this way the bank started to develop fast. The name of the bank was changed to Lefkosa Turk Bankasi Ltd from Lefkosa Islam Iddihar Bankasi Ltd in 1943 and its capital was increased to 80,000 Cyprus liras. It started to operate as a full-fled gent commercial bank thanks to its brand new identity, depending on the then applicable conditions of the time.
1949: First Branch, New Ones…
The Bank opened its first branch in Magosa in 1949 in order to give service at every corner of the island. This branch was followed by the branches in Larnaka, Limasol and Baf opened in 1955, 1958 and 1959, respectively. With its numerous highly reputed correspondent banks outside Cyprus and a registered capital raised to 200,000 Cyprus liras, the Bank managed to increase its capacity, power and success every year.
1963: The Biggest Supporter for Cyprus Turks
During the times of terror instigated by EOKA (Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agonisto) in Cyprus since 1953, Lefkosa Turk Bankasi Ltd has assumed many highly significant roles on its own. It helped Turkish Bazaar stand up on its feet after it was torn away from the Greek part. It led the way to an independent Turkish trade industry on the island and helped middle-income people to own houses. This way it proved once more that it is the most reliable financial institution in Cyprus for Cyprus Turks.
1973: New Head Office Building…
In 1973 the Bank’s name was once more changed and the word “Lefkosa” was removed. The Bank’s official name was now “Turk Bankasi Ltd” (“Turkish Bank). That year, a brand new and modern head office building was built next to the one which was in use since 1949 at the down town Nicosia. With expansions in 1980, 1985 and 1990, the head office further grew and now offers its services in a closed surface area of 4,000 square meters. All assets and liabilities of the Bank were converted to Turkish lira and new branches were opened after the Cyprus Peace Operation. The Bank now had a presence in foreign countries and two further branches were opened at Harringay and Elephant&Castle in London.
1982: First move into Turkey…
Turkish Bank opened up its first branch and regional directorate in Istanbul in 1982.
1984: A New Era…
Backed by a very successful career in the banking sector and having worked as London Regional Manager in Turkish Bank in 1979, Mr. Tanju Ozyol was selected as the Board Chairman following the General Assembly meeting in 1984. Thanks to this change-over in the management, the bank’s development further accelerated.
Further developing and growing, Turk Bankasi Ltd opened its second branch in Izmir in Turkey in 1988, followed by Ankara and Mersin branches in 1989, all of which extended the Bank’s service network more in Turkey.
Its head office in Turkey moved to one of the most beautiful buildings in Istanbul in 1990. The building is of Art Nouveau style. Next to its historical features it also boasts an ultra-modern interior design. The same year, the head office in England moved to its own property at Borough District to the south of the City, which the is the finance hub in London.
1985: Support to Culture and Art
Contributing to the cultural life thanks to its large supports to Cyprus Turkish artists, the Bank helped the publication of a magazine called “Culture-Art Magazine” to play a more effective role in that field. Moreover, an “Economic Bulletin” was periodically released for foreigners and correspondent banks.
1991: A Landmark:
In 1991, Türk Bankası Ltd.’s Turkish operations in its foreign branch status were terminated and the Bank continued its operations as TurkishBank A.Ş. (TurkishBank) and similarly its operations in England were taken over by Turkish Bank (UK) Ltd. (Turkish Bank UK), which resulted in the emergence of two autonomous banks and this way there were now three separate banks: Türk Bankası Ltd., TurkishBank A.Ş. and Turkish Bank (UK) Ltd. Thanks to this functional organization which rendered all banking transactions between Turkey, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and England very advantageous, clients were able to reach very fast, reliable and easy services.
1996: Saray Sigorta Ltd.
Turk Bankasi which has been offering high-quality and reliable banking services to Cyprus Turkish people for years took a significant step forward in order to better meet the ever-increasing demands of its clients in the industry sector. This insurance line of Turk Bank was incorporated into a company under the name of “Saray Sigorta Ltd” and independently started up its business operations in 1996.
1998: Turkish Investment Securities
In 1998 Turkishbank founded Turkish Investment Securities and started to precede with its equity operations in an autonomous company outside the Bank. Turk Bank Securities Department started up its operations as the agent of Turkish Investment Securities in Cyprus upon the approval by the Capital Markets Board (CMB).
2000: Towards the 100th Year…
Building its presence on the “Banking Only” principle and never compromising that principle, the group moved to the new millennium by rising on its reliable and sound infrastructure, strong background and experience for more than a century and the services that the modern age demands
2003: Allied Turkish Bank International Banking Unit LTD Ltd
In 2003, Allied Turkish Bank International Banking Unit LTD Ltd (ATB) was founded within Turkish Bank group. ATB has specialized on yacht credits and provided tailored services for its unique client portfolio.
National Bank Of Kuwait, one of the biggest banks in Kuwait with a rating A, acquired a 38, 10 % shareholding in Turkishbank and thus became a partner to it. Thanks to the partnership with National Bank of Kuwait which operates at an international level, Turkishbank thus added a culture of business partnership with a foreign partner on top of its a century-long past. This way, it reinforced its prestigious stand before both its clients and other players in the market.