The rapid growth of the economy and the population on a global scale has brought about the continuity of natural resources and future food supply problems, and has made income inequality much more apparent in almost every country, including developed or undeveloped economies. In this context, not only governments, but also the global financial sector, adopting more inclusive strategies and promoting the equal distribution of resources has been one of the top priorities in achieving sustainable development goals.
Distinguishing itself among privately owned domestic deposit banks by its widespread base in both deposit and loan portfolio, Şekerbank has adopted a banking approach that includes all segments of the society, including the upstate, since its establishment. With this feature, the bank is positioned as the key bank of Turkey in order to reach the local before international financial institutions.
Şekerbank performs inclusive banking not only socio-economically but also geographically, thanks to its extensive branch network, 72% of which are located outside three major metropolitans and spread over 67 provinces and 90 upstate districts.
Fulfilling its target of reaching the unbanked population, which is one of the main elements of its mission, by applying the international micro-finance lending method in our country, supporting women producers and developing digital banking channels for tradesmen and farmers, the Bank continues to implement practices that are the first in Turkey in the field of financial inclusion.
While Şekerbank supports general economic growth, which is widespread, where people's economic rights are equally protected and society will benefit the whole, it favors United Nations ' SDG-2, SDG-5, SDS-8 and SDG-17 objectives with the services and activities it leads under the financial inclusion and banking on women fields.
At Şekerbank, privilege is granted to women entrepreneurs, businesses that prioritize women's employment, and women's cooperatives and their access to financing is facilitated with grace periods, maturities up to 36 months and advantageous interest rates.
"Micro Financing" for the Unbanked
According to researches, there is an unbanked population of more than 15 million in Turkey that has limited access to credit facilities. The inclusion of this group, which is mostly composed of tradesmen, farmers and especially women, into the economy through production is of great importance for the sustainable development of Turkey.
To serve this purpose, Şekerbank has developed alternative lending models specific to tradesmen, farmers, women entrepreneurs and micro-enterprise owners who are included in the definition of SMEs but are segregated from both SMEs and individual customers due to their structures.
The Bank, which started to implement Turkey's first microfinance lending model under the consultancy of IPC (Internationale Projekt Consult, GmbH) in 2006, started the second phase of the model in 2015. The cash flow-based lending model, which is carried out with face-to-face communication, aims to increase entrepreneurship capability and production capacity, and is based on the total income of the household, contributes to the development of financial literacy in rural areas.
Supporting Women Entrepreneurship in Rural Areas
The more active participation of women in the economy, production and social life is of critical importance in terms of achieving overall development in our country as well as in the global scale.
Studies show that 55 percent of women in Anatolia are unbanked. The continuity of the rural female population is also of great importance in terms of the education of girls, reducing migration to metropolitan areas and continuity of production.
Based on these inferences, Şekerbank focused on supporting rural women entrepreneurship in the field of financial inclusion and signed public-private sector collaborations in this field.
In this context, within the framework of the Şekerbank Family Farming Banking program, by providing uninterrupted support for five years to the 'Strengthening Women's Entrepreneurship in Agriculture Program in Agriculture' initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, as of the end of 2019, the Bank has assisted in bringing more than five thousand women from 17 provinces, with a total of 1,081 projects, into the economy as employers.
In addition, the Bank provided “Financial Literacy Training” in 2019, to approximately 1,200 women, based on the importance of empowering women on the basis of empowering the society, and by continuing to support them on a social level, it supported many housewives to gain knowledge on basic financial issues and participate in the labor market.
As a reflection of the sharing culture originating from its foundation, Şekerbank supports the collective participation of women in production through cooperatives and implements special lending processes for women producer cooperatives