I respectfully greet our valued partners honoring the Ordinary General Assembly Meeting 2010 of our Bank.
Before the evaluation of TEB's operations in 2009, I would like to share my findings about the developments in both the global and the Turkish economy.
While approaching the end of the global crisis...
Actions taken to overcome the global economic crisis and the dynamics of the post-crisis period are among the most important agenda items of the entire world as 2010 approaches.
The crisis, which intensified in the second half of 2008, began to adversely affect the Turkish economy in the same period. While the first half of 2009 was a very difficult time, especially for the real sector, the consensus agreed that the most challenging period of the global crisis was left behind by the second half of the year. Positive economic data also confirmed that the end of the crisis was near. Encouraging news also started to affect our domestic economy; the slowdown in the rate of GDP contraction was the most obvious indicator of this effect.
When examining economic developments across the world, the US and European economies recorded growth for the first time since the beginning of the crisis and technically emerged from the recessionary period in the third quarter of 2009.
However, it is likely that the recovery in the world’s economies will take place slowly and gradually; no real permanent and sustainable recovery is yet seen in the primary macroeconomic data. In addition, the level of unemployment is persistently high in a low inflation environment.
The world's central banks and monetary authorities implemented extraordinary monetary and fiscal policies in response to the global crisis. Turkey’s risk premium and that of many developing countries decreased to pre-crisis levels due to a relative rise in the global risk appetite for financial market instruments at the end of this period.
A return to increasing capital inflows led to the appreciation of the currencies of developing countries relative to the USD.
Increasing oil and gold prices, as well as rising stock markets in developing economies, are a result of market players gravitating toward commodity markets and emerging market countries in search of relatively higher returns.
During the economic crisis, central banks and monetary authorities acted in coordination with each other and thus played a significant role in overcoming the crisis in a shorter period of time than expected. It is equally important that they now show the same diligence and cooperation regarding the timing of exiting markets and the specific measures they choose to apply in response to these changing economic conditions.
The Turkish banking sector successfully navigated through the global crisis, and continued its development without compromising growth and profitability.
After emerging from the country’s 2000-2001 economic crisis with a historic reform and restructuring process, the Turkish banking sector faced the 2008 global crisis at a time when it was very strong; accordingly, the sector could manage the challenging dynamics of the crisis in both domestic and foreign markets.
In addition to a strong capital structure, sensitive risk assessment and governance approach, the existence of an independent and effective regulatory and oversight mechanism also clearly played a significant role in the sector's ability to manage and minimize the impact of the crisis.
In parallel with the contraction in real economic activity, the year 2009 saw a decrease in credit demand together with an increase in non-performing loans. The Turkish banking sector's general strategy in 2009 was to increase assets with the help of relatively high returns from securities portfolios. The consistent and clear position of the Turkish Central Bank (TCMB) regarding policy interest rates played a major role in the banking sector's ability to maintain its healthy and profitable environment in 2009.
TEB's performance in 2009 proved not only our corporate strength but also our success in integrating our capabilities with our business strategy.
In 2009 when conflicting dynamics competed with each other, TEB succeeded in having a business model that is completely in sync with the reality of the market, creates added value and supports sustainable growth. I believe that this is even more important than making profit in exceptional years like 2009 and that it is a strong indicator of the long-term vitality of a company.
Our Bank recorded significant growth in 2009.
Our innovative and pioneering position in banking can be seen in many areas of our service offerings including credit cards, project financing, alternative distribution channels and investment banking.
Our primary responsibility is to direct our values to productive business areas and fulfill our commitments to our customers. This responsibility develops along two axes for bank shareholders. The first is to ensure appropriate and ethical implementation of banking activities and the second is to secure strong and continuous capital to meet the needs of the organization.
I would gladly like to state that TEB was once again supported by its shareholders in the tough market environment of 2009. In addition to the strong support from our main shareholders Çolakoğlu Group and BNP Paribas, the ever-growing support of the investors buying our shares on the IMKB and London Stock Exchange proves the soundness and future potential of TEB's strategy.
We are a customer-oriented organization in parallel with our position in the sector and our mission.
Our primary objective is to meet our customers' financial needs by offering integrated and customized solutions. Our organization and corporate culture are defined and structured in accordance with our customer-oriented business approach. We will continue to strengthen our brand in the banking sector as long as we build and maintain long-term and deeper relationships with our customers.
Our human resources composed of our professional management team and employees perform their jobs with devotion, ambition and utmost care. As long as this simple fact remains a reality at TEB, it will be possible to achieve our corporate objectives no matter what.
Before we present our 2009 Annual Report and Financial Statements for the review of our shareholders, I want to thank all my colleagues who contributed to the continuous success of TEB and provided quality services to our customers, and pay my respects to our valued shareholders.
Yavuz CaneviChairman of the Board of Directors