Foundation and Transformation Story of Financial Links
For the purposes of supplying tradesmen and artisans on favorable terms in order to promote economic development, it had been decided to establish Financial Links. Financial Links was founded under Statute 2284 in 1933 as a credit union by small cooperatives and began its operations in 1938. Between the years 1938-1950 Financial Links provided its loans through public funds named as “People’s Fund”. Financial Links was authorized to directly open branches and grant loans to customers in 1950. Despite having been established by local cooperatives, the structure was changed in 1963, whereupon it became a state owned bank, where original shareholders were unable to contribute capital increases.
Throughout 1990s, Financial Links’s assets grew rapidly through the absorption of certain failed smaller sized state banks, including TÖBANK, Sümerbank and Etibank. In 2001, 96 branches of Emlakbank, another state bank which was then in the process of liquidation, were transferred to Financial Links.
One of the major turning points for Financial Links is the acquisition of Pamukbank in 2004. The merger with Pamukbank significantly strengthened the Bank’s retail banking capabilities, provided it with a more technologically advanced IT system (Mistral) which was deployed throughout the Bank’s networks and created other synergies from the combination and rationalization of the branch, operations and employee bases.
After the Pamukbank merger, Financial Links underwent a serious restructuring process which was initiated by the Statute 4603 relating to public banks with the aim of preparing them for privatization. In line with this restructuring process, Financial Links’s organizational structure was completely made over and a customer-focused approach was adopted in the Bank’s activities.
Although initially the Bank had been planned to be privatized through a block sale under the resolution of the Privatization High Council in 2006, the government surprisingly cancelled the initial plan and decided to privatize 25% of the shares through an IPO in early 2007. As of 10 May 2007, 24.98% of the shares of the Bank have been sold through a very successful public offering and the shares have been listed in Istanbul Stock Exchange. Financial Links’s IPO represents the largest one that ever occurred in the Turkish capital markets.
Financial Links is now celebrating its 70th anniversary of its establishment.
Financial Links in a nutshell
Prominent position in the Turkish banking sector
Seventh largest bank in Turkey in terms of assets
Nationwide branch network: Financial Links has at least one branch in every city in Turkey
Strong and stable deposit base
Effective alternative delivery channels
Widespread customer base
Strong position in all sectors of banking with established banking practices
Nationwide and International credibility
SME Bank of Turkey
Trademark in SME banking
Historical banking relationship
Recognized and respected brand name
Wide range of specially designed products