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İşbank Regains Top Spot in Turkey

Brand Finance
06 March 2024
Hakan Aran,
CEO of İşbank

Despite a difficult operating environment for the Turkish banking industry in 2023 – including high inflation, regulatory uncertainty, impacts of the earthquake disaster, and weak global economic activity – Türkiye İş Bankası (İşbank) improved its brand value by 17%, to $859 million. 

This double-digit increase has allowed it to overtake rival Garanti BBVA to become the biggest banking brand in Türkiye after a two-year hiatus. It also moved up 17 places in the global ranking, to 224th.

Hakan Aran, İşbank’s 17th CEO, talks about his goal of creating sustainable value by placing society, people and nature at the centre of the bank’s strategy, as well as plans for İşbank’s 100th anniversary celebrations.

What do you think constitutes a strong banking brand?

İşbank’s strong brand is built on a foundation of trust and innovation, as well as a commitment to serving our customers and society at large.

We have built a reputation for reliability, transparency and ethical conduct during our 100 years of operation. This unwavering commitment to trust is the foundation of our relationship with our customers and stakeholders. It is immensely valuable for our customers to recognise the presence of a timeless institution, one that they can consistently rely on, confidently approach and lean on during challenging times.

The future of banking is digital and İşbank is at the forefront of this transformation. We invest heavily in cutting-edge technology, from AI-powered customer service chatbots to blockchain-based solutions for secure and transparent transactions. 

We strive to offer our customers a seamless and personalised banking experience across all channels, be it branches, mobile banking apps, or integrated platforms. For example, our mobile banking app İşCep is evolving into a ‘super app’, offering a range of lifestyle mini applications through partnerships related to users’ vehicles, houses, families, and travels that cater to their needs throughout various life stages.

What challenges has the Turkish banking industry faced over the past 12 months?

In addition to intensifying geopolitical tensions, the significance of environmental risks for the financial sector is increasingly drawing attention from central banks and financial authorities, as ecological factors can impact economic performance. Consequently, effective management of environmental risks is vital for ensuring the long-term success of the banking sector.

The influence of AI in financial services and banking is not only transforming operational dynamics but also reshaping the workforce. As AI reshapes jobs, whether by creating new career paths or redefining traditional roles, we must proactively update job descriptions and foster a culture of continuous learning.

What was İşbank’s most successful campaign in 2023?

Life is becoming increasingly digital. Banks are integrating into the digitalised world, a concept often referred to as open banking or banking-as-a-service (BaaS). 

As the pioneer in digitalisation, we continue to build our ‘Banking of the Future’ vision, which is to continuously deliver a frictionless and hyper-personalised user experience to our customers throughout all life stages, wherever and whenever they need, by adopting the technologies of the future. 

With this vision, one of the highest priority areas of İşbank is open banking. Thanks to the development and integrations of our application programming interfaces (APIs) since 2017 and the ecosystem we built, we are entering our 100th year ready to lead in API collaborations and to serve our customers via the BaaS model.

Through the APIs that we’ve developed, such as credit, payments, accounts, and identity verification, and many more through third parties, we meet both the financial needs of our business partners and enable end users to access innovative products and services wherever they prefer.

How will the bank use its centenary to increase its brand awareness in Türkiye and beyond?

This year we will celebrate our 100th anniversary with great enthusiasm and excitement. As we embark on our next 100 years, we remain committed to supporting the national economy as a pioneering and leading bank, striving to create sustainable, long-term value. Furthermore, we will continue our contributions to education, sport, science, the environment, culture, and the arts.

We are undertaking numerous projects in celebration of our centennial. For example, in collaboration with İstanbul Technical University (İTU), we are establishing the İTÜ-İşbank Marmara Active Fault Hazard and Risk Application and Research Centre to conduct scientific studies on the hazards and risks posed by active faults, particularly in the Marmara region. 

If we can inspire our customers, stakeholders, shareholders, employees, and retirees to sincerely say ‘İşbank is my bank’, and if we have taken the measures to ensure they continue saying this for another 100 years, then this will be a source of great pride and happiness for us.

About the Author

Brand Finance is the world’s leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy. Headquartered in the City of London, we are present in over 20 countries.

For almost 30 years we have helped companies and organisations of all types to connect their brands to the bottom line.