Turkish top banker resigns after criticizing minister

Turkish top banker resigns after criticizing minister
# 01 April 2011 03:44 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. The general manager of Turkish lender Isbank announced his resignation here on Thursday just two days after reacting to a provocative statement from the Turkish state minister for the economy, APA reports quoting Xinhua News Agency.

Ersin Ozince said at a press conference that he is also leaving his job as the chairman of the Turkish Banks Association. The new director general of the bank might be appointed in April.

The resignation came after an exchange of tense words with State Minister Ali Babacan, who said that the government "does not wish to take police-type measures" against banks that do not limit loan growth.

Ozince challenged the minister by replying: "What does he mean by this? I suppose it is about (police) coming and taking us ( bankers), like we see in the press. What kind of police-type measures could be imposed against a bank? Isn’t this a state of law?"

The words, which were a thinly veiled protest of the recent and controversial arrest of two prominent journalists, appeared to be the main reason behind Thursday’s resignation.

Turkey’s Isbank posted 2.07 billion U.S. dollars of net profit in 2010. The bank’s consolidated assets were worth 151 billion Turkish Liras (98.05 billion dollars).

However, Turkish banking might lose nearly 2.6 billion U.S. dollars in revenue this year as a result of the Turkish Central Bank’s policy to hike reserve requirements.

Due to an extra tax applied on the opening of new branches, Isbank’s income might fall by 300 million Turkish Liras this year.