Turkey Sees Room for 60 Banks to Operate, Regulator Says

Turkey expects to allow about 60 foreign and local banks to operate as an increasing number of institutions apply for licenses, according to Mukim Oztekin, head of the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency.

“Foreign banks’ interest in the Turkish market is fast increasing,” Oztekin said today in Istanbul. “We take financial strength as the most important criteria.” About 49 banks are currently operating in Turkey, he said.

Italy’s largest retail bank, Intesa Sanpaolo SpA (ISP) applied to Turkey’s regulator to open a branch and Bank of Tokyo- Mitsibushi, a unit of Japan’s biggest lender Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (8306), has made a formal application, he said.

“Both these banks meet our criteria.” he said. Standard Chartered Bank is interested to open a branch or carry out investment banking activities in Turkey, while South Korean banks were also interested, Oztekin said, without giving names.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sibel Akbay in Istanbul at sakbay@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net

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