File - Turkey’s Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek attends a conference in Istanbul, Oct. 31, 2008. (Wikipedia/Serkan Edeleklioglu)
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Turkey's finance minister said the government wanted more foreign lenders to apply for operating licenses, as the country's pool of potential bank acquisition targets shrinks.Annual average credit growth of 28 percent in the four years through 2013 is attracting interest from "many" overseas banks, Mukim Oztekin, head of the Istanbul-based banking regulator, said in an April 24 interview.Lebanon's Bank Audi was granted the first commercial banking license in over a decade in 2012 and trades under the name Odea Bank AS. Applicants for a license must have at least $300 million of paid-in capital.ICBC said last month that it would buy all of GSD Holding AS's 76 percent stake in Tekstilbank AS for $316 million and make a tender offer for the remaining shares of the Istanbul-based lender.Spain's Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, which acquired a 25 percent stake in Garanti Bank, Turkey's biggest lender, in 2011, is upbeat about the outlook.
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