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Responsible banking 24 Jun 2020

Garanti BBVA signs ‘gender loan’ with Turkish group Limak

BBVA's unit in Turkey, national leader in innovative loan structuring, has agreed a ‘gender loan’ with four tourism businesses within the Limak Grubu consortium. The loan's interest rates are indexed to criteria evaluating equal opportunities across the group's entire workforce.

This is the second loan of its kind issued by Garanti BBVA in Turkey and provides a total of 151.2 million Turkish lira to four companies in the Limak Grubu group. The tourism companies in question will receive interest rate reductions based on their compliance with criteria such as post-pregnancy return to work programs, the enforcement of equality standards when hiring new employees, prioritizing supply chain partners that have major shareholders who are women, wage parity between men and women, an policies against sexual harassment, to name a few.

After signing the loan agreement, Ebru Dildar Edin, Garanti BBVA vice president, reiterated that “the ‘Gender Loan’ program in Turkey gives companies the opportunity to get funding with more favorable terms by taking steps that promote gender equality.”

To this end, in 2019 Garanti BBVA closed the first agreement of this type, contributing to greater equality between men and women in Turkey's business community. “At Garanti BBVA we have broken new ground and have undertaken numerous projects, both internally and with clients, with the goal of empowering women to take an active part in the economy. Now with the structure of the ‘gender loan,’ we reward those companies that demonstrate a positive performance in terms of gender equality, which in turn encourages other companies to do a better job in this area,” explained the Garanti BBVA executive.

At Garanti BBVA we have undertaken numerous projects with the goal of empowering women to take an active part in the economy

According to Dildar Edin, the finalization of this ground-breaking agreement and Limak’s contribution, both of which stimulate gender equality, are significant milestones on the path to shoring up Turkey’s sustainable economy. “We are confident that Turkish businesses with a proven and strong performance in the area of sustainability will be interested by innovative loan structures like the gender loan. Equally we think other pioneering businesses will be willing to take steps to restructure their current loans in line with this structure.”

For her part, Ebru Özdemir, chairperson of the Limak Yatırım management board, stressed that Limak Turizm’s participation in the Garanti BBVA gender equality loan program, “is both important and gratifying for us. It incentivizes us to improve our performance in terms of gender equality, both within our tourism group and in the other sectors where we do business.” Similarly, Kaan Kavaloğlu, chairman of the tourism group, Limak Holding, stated, “we are making serious efforts to achieve gender equality in our hotels. The projects we have defined to increase the number of female workers will help us reach this goal.”  Kavaloğlu went on to describe how the group has created a Pandemic Action Plan supported by technology infrastructure that focuses on health and prevention measures, thus ensuring the company can provide a safe vacation environment.

Evaluation criteria for the gender loan include the measures a company should put in place in order to comply with the United Nations ‘Gender Equality Seal for Public and Private Organizations’ program, which is part of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in addition to other measures defined by Garanti BBVA.