Finansbank (renamed to Credit Europe Bank in almost all countries except Turkey) is a Turkish private bank, founded on September 23, 1987 in İstanbul by Hüsnü Özyeğin, one of Turkey's leading bankers. It is the 5th biggest bank of Turkey. 46% of its shares were acquired by the National Bank of Greece in April 2006.
On January 9, 2007, the National Bank of Greece acquired an additional 34.4% of Finansbank shares from minority shareholders. NBG now owns 84.6% of Finansbank. As of March 31, 2007 , Finansbank’s total customer deposits were approximately US 6.8 billion.
Finansbank started its operation on October 26, 1987 with only one branch in İstanbul. Within the first year of its existence, it expanded to a total of four branches: two in İstanbul, one in Ankara and another one in İzmir. Today, it counts 342 branches throughout Turkey and in countries such as Switzerland, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium, Russia, Romania, Ireland and Bahrain. This multinational structure makes it the Turkish bank with the highest investment abroad and widest branch network.
Finansbank went public on February 3, 1990 being listed on the Istanbul Stock Exchange. Since June 3, 1998, the bank’s Global Depositary Receipts are listed on the London Stock Exchange. As of August 2005, a total of 41% Finansbank's shares are publicly held.
Finansbank extended its strategy with a new range of instruments by founding two sister companies of Finans Leasing in 1990 and Fiba Factoring in 1991. It entered international markets by acquiring 90% of the shares of a private bank in Switzerland from UBS AG. This bank was renamed then Finansbank Suisse S.A. Further expansion continued with the acquisition of a 20% stake in Banque du Bosphore in Paris, France in 1991, and the establishment of Finansbank Holland N.V. in Amsterdam in 1994. The Dutch bank has also branches in Germany and Belgium.
In 1995, Finansbank entered the retail-banking market and until 2000, it extended its four branches to a network of more than 100 branches, including one in Bahrain. The bank experienced increased retail activities when the Fiba Group acquired the supermarket chain Gima in 1996, and purchased the Turkish franchise rights for Marks & Spencer in 1999.
Finansbank moved out its investment banking operations to a newly established FinansInvest in 1997. The same year, the Russian subsidiary Finansbank (Moscow) Ltd was founded. In 1998, Finans Leasing Romania was established. In 1999, a 99.94% share of Türk Sakura Bank was acquired from the Japanese Sakura Bank Ltd, and it was renamed Fiba Bank (Fibank), which was merged 2003 into Finansbank. In 2000, a Romanian bank was purchased and renamed Finansbank (Romania) S.A. Finans Portfolio Management as well as Finans Real Estate Investment Trust began operations the same year. In 2001, Finansbank sold its shares in Commercial Union Insurance and Commercial Union Life to CGU International Insurance Plc and founded Finans Insurance.
Finansbank's telephone banking service, added to the range of services in 2000, was selected as the best call center in Europe at the European Call Center Awards in 2003. The same year, the operation center project to provide better cost management and improve the quality of the operational services, and in 2002, the corebanking project to update the existing IT system were completed. With these projects, Finansbank established itself as a leader in technology and service quality in the Turkish banking sector. In 2003, Finansbank ranked on the first place worldwide in the International Visa Challenge Program and became number one in the European Call Center Awards competition.
As of 2005, the number of the holders of the Finansbank’s credit card "CardFinans" exceeded 2.2 million. By April that year, Fiba Group sold the Gima supermarket chain to Sabancı Holding. Fiba Group made Koç Holding very angry with this sale, because Koç was determined to buy Gima to gain its market share back from Sabancı-Carrefour partnership. After three months dating with Koç, Hüsnü Özyeğin decided to sell Gima to Sabancı in a few days. Koç, started a newspaper ad campaign with its partner Migros as "honest seller" after being faked. Fiba group acquired the five-star hotel Swissotel in İstanbul from its Japanese owners with the money from Gima sale.
As of 2005, Finansbank has more than 6,100 employees.
With the acquisition of the 46% shares, worth of 2,774 mil. USD, by the National Bank of Greece, the biggest commercial contract was signed in the history between Turkey and Greece. This contract made Finansbank the biggest Greece investment of Greek capital out of Greece homeland. Many people thought it would cause Finansbank trust problems with Turkish customers, yet Hüsnü Özyeğin announced that only 26 credit card customer draw their money.
On January 9, 2007 the National Bank of Greece announced that it had increased its stake in Finansbank to 80.4 percent. NBG, in a statement issued to the Athens Stock Exchange, said it had acquired the additional 34.4 percent in Finansbank from minority shareholders which adds to its already existing 46% stake. Hüsnü Özyeğin reported in the initial press conference when NBG announced its 46% share purchase that he would have "loved to have been offered National Bank of Greece shares instead of cash, however there were no shares available" (outside of the current shares floated in the free market).