Unabatedly driving sustainable long‑term shareholder value
2021 was a year in which Akbank achieved successful results and at the same time, in which change continued to be internalized with a proactive approach.
A superior financial strength and operational resilience
Despite a challenging macro environment marked by high global inflation and the negative impacts of the ongoing pandemic, Akbank once again successfully navigated a volatile year maintaining its financial strength and operational resilience.
In 2021, the loan support Akbank provided to the economy increased to a total of TL 485 billion, with TL 397 billion in cash loans. Deposits reached TL 454 billion, while assets reached TL 763 billion. With the strength driven by this structure, Akbank continued to support the development of the real sector with the loans provided to businesses. Akbank reported a consolidated net profit of TL 12 billion 127 million after provisioning TL 4 billion 513 million for taxes.
Robust TL loan growth, proactive positioning in the security portfolio and strong fee income growth across the board were all instrumental in the Bank’s solid core operating performance. Meanwhile, the trends in the net Cost of Credit were considerably better than expected thanks to prudent risk discipline through the cycle. As a result, the Bank delivered a full year return on equity of 17.9% while maintaining a best‑in‑class capital positioning. With a robust capital adequacy ratio of 21.1%, Akbank continued to have one of the strongest capital structures in the sector. Robust capital buffers have served as a shield against unprecedented challenges and volatility and created ammunition for sustainable profitable growth. Akbank will continue to drive sustainable long‑term shareholder value with its prudent asset‑liability management, solid liquidity, disciplined risk management, low‑cost base and enhanced digital capabilities.
Three key priorities in adding value to the group strategy
Akbank has identified the following priorities based on important opportunities in the industry: The first is to grow while protecting the bank’s core customer base. This includes designing more efficient interaction models for evolving expectations & technology, and optimizing business channels and resources to advance and deepen sales capabilities to further expand the customer base.
The second priority is innovation of the business model to take up a more meaningful part of a customer’s lifecycle. Business areas such as digital banking, payments services, integrated platforms and new commercial verticals witnessed important new initiatives in 2021 and moving into 2022 will see an increase in the pace of these efforts by Akbank.
Finally, all of the transformation initiatives will require robust foundations and enablers such as advanced analytics capabilities, state of the art technology and infrastructure, a competitive talent pool and a supportive culture for the organization and, last but not least, the brand and corporate communication efforts.
Further integration of sustainability into all operations
Another key driving force shaping the industry is sustainability. The transformation to a greener, more inclusive economy will require extensive investment and structural change across all sectors and businesses. Turkey’s decision to ratify the Paris Agreement in 2021 was also an important milestone in this respect. The banking industry has a special role in helping economies and businesses achieve this transformation.
In line with its vision to “To be the leading bank which propels Turkey into the future”, Akbank launched a major transformation initiative in 2021 to further integrate sustainability into all its operations. This initiative focused on four areas: Sustainable Finance, Ecosystems Management, People & Culture and Climate Change. The work in these four areas is supported by the bank’s strong financial performance and integrated governance approach. Thanks to measurable solid targets and consistent implementation of its sustainability action plan, Akbank improved its scores in leading Sustainability Indices. Akbank’s MSCI ESG rating has been upgraded two notches to BBB, while the Sustainalytics upgraded its assessment to “Low Risk”.
Banking in a fast‑changing world
The world’s understanding and expectations of what banking looks like have been totally transformed by an unprecedented period of challenges.
It is no longer enough to make promises or pledges: responsible banks must face the climate crisis head‑on and truly act on their commitments to all of their stakeholders, especially when it comes to the social impact.
Looking ahead: higher profitability but stiffer competition
As we look ahead to 2022, the global economy has been displaying signs of recovery and even though uncertainties persist with new pandemic variants and the supply crisis, the consensus view is that central banks will abandon their expansionary fiscal policies. The Global banking industry is expected to post higher profitability but also face tougher competition for revenue generation.
An integrated digital ecosystem
For the banking industry, strategic partnerships and competition with fintechs and adjacent industries such as e‑commerce and telecommunications has become more important than ever. Regulatory changes in Turkey on open banking, digital banking and service model banking help define the playing field where banks may choose several options to bring about impactful change to their business models and prepare for the future challenges of the competitive landscape. Banks may deploy some of their expertise and excess capacity in banking as a service model, or they can become a hub for different service provides in banking as a platform model; or they can found a new, fully digital bank. Banks will be positioned as the best players to match the success of Big Tech and e‑commerce companies in creating an integrated digital ecosystem and embedding themselves in customers’ lives, especially due to their already trust based and established relationship. Akbank Lab will continue to be a facilitator for Akbank’s partnerships with fintechs and the rest of startup ecosystem.
A bifocal strategy
Akbank has developed a bifocal strategy of “Run the Bank” and “Crafting the Future” to structure its key priorities and reach its goals. “Running the bank” is focused on the present or short‑term, and even on the daily requirements of risk and return focused sound growth, expansion and activation of the customer base, managing the capital structure to be robust even through turbulent market conditions, maintaining the standard of best‑in‑class efficiency and sustainable high profitability and stakeholder value creation.
“Crafting the future” goes hand in hand with running the bank, as it is crucial to create and maintain a superior customer experience, to leverage digitalization and advanced analytics and to invest in business models, the work environment and people which will ensure Akbank remains in a pioneering position.
Targeting operational carbon neutrality by 2025
In line with its 4‑pillar sustainability strategy, Akbank identified and announced long‑term, actionable targets in 2021, becoming the first Turkish deposit bank to announce commitments on both sides of the balance sheet.
These targets include TL 200 billion of sustainable loans by 2030, raising sustainable investment funds to TL 15 billion by 2030 and becoming a carbon‑neutral bank through eliminating operational emissions by 2025. In 2022 and beyond, the bank will continue to work towards achieving these long‑term goals. In doing so, the bank aims to further mitigate its social, environmental and climate‑related risks, while seizing the opportunities presented by the green transformation.
By offering customized solutions for the diverse set of needs of a low‑carbon economy, Akbank will position itself as the go‑to bank in sustainable finance.