Ziraat Bank, Turkey’s largest state-owned
lender, is to roll out 1,000 units of unstaffed micro-branches
where customers will be served by an advisor via video-link.

Ziraat Bank has already rolled out 50
so-called Goruntulu Islem Merkez (GIM) units across Turkey and is
planning to open another 50 units by the end of the year.

But by 2015, the bank will have opened 1,000
such units, Soner Canko, assistant general manager of Ziraat Bank
told RBI.

A full interview with Canko will be published
in an upcoming issue of RBI as part of our series
on Turkish banks.

The GIM micro branches are unstaffed, but
offer all banking services, with assistance via video-link to an
Istanbul-based advisor who talks customers through each step of
their banking requirements.

The roll-out of these units comes at a time
when Turkish banks are looking for opportunities to cut costs and
continue to generate high profits amidst the Turkish Central Bank’s
unorthodox policy of slashing interest rates and increasing reserve
capital ratios.

Besides the expansion of GIM-units, Ziraat
Bank is also upgrading and growing its ATM network with
recycling-enabled units from Chinese ATM manufacturer GRG.

Canko told RBI that the cost and time
of running and loading ATMs will reduce with the GRG H68N ATM
models.

He said that Ziraat Bank was investing in
1,500 units of GRG’s units, which will bring the bank’s total ATM
distribution close to 4,500 units. 

For GRG, the deal is its biggest outside its
home market in China. The vendor has pocketed about $35m with the
order.

A full interview on Ziraat Bank’s life as a
state-run bank with Soner Canko will appear in an upcoming issue of
RBI.