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Technology 23 Feb 2024

Garanti BBVA unveils the largest technology center in the Turkish banking industry

The future of the banking industry is shaped by technology and Garanti BBVA is working hard to design the banking model of the future. Garanti BBVA Technology is the bank’s latest and most disruptive initiative yet so it can continue to lead digital banking in Türkiye.

Garanti BBVA inaugura el mayor centro tecnológico del sector bancario turco

Aside from the many innovations it has implemented over the course of its technology journey, which started in the 1990s, Garanti BBVA also happens to play a leading role in the transformation of the sector thanks to its agility, innovative working culture and robust infrastructure. In fact, the bank has invested more than $5 billion over the last 25 years, making a real difference within the industry. And now it has just set up Garanti BBVA Technology, a ground-breaking concept within the industry that gives technology management its own space on the understanding that tech is what really drives the bank forward.

Garanti BBVA recently welcomed reporters to its Technology Campus to convey its technology strategy and investments and present Garanti BBVA Technology —the biggest tech center within the Turkish banking sector, also known as the “tech factory”. The event was hosted by Garanti BBVA CEO, Recep Baştuğ, Executive Vice President of Engineering and Data Services, İlker Kuruöz, and Garanti BBVA Technology General Manager, Fatih Bektaşoğlu.

Garanti BBVA inaugura el mayor centro tecnológico del sector bancario turco

İlker Kuruöz, Recep Baştuğ and Fatih Bektaşoğlu.

Regarding Garanti BBVA’s technology vision and banking strategy, the CEO pointed to the key role played by technology in the bank’s growth, with technological developments calling for a transformation in the way business is done. “At Garanti BBVA, we are leading this transformation thanks to our agility, innovative working culture and strong technological infrastructure,” he added. In that sense, Bastug reminded that the bank continues to invest heavily in technology, so “we can offer our customers a seamless and highly personalized experience. All of our subsidiaries stand to benefit from this new technology and operations center and can pass on the benefits to their own customers.”

Meanwhile, İlker Kuruöz reflected on how technology can affect banking services and how this process unfolds at Garanti BBVA: “The fintech ecosystem has been growing rapidly not only in Türkiye but worldwide and our new Garanti BBVA Technology is a fine example of this,” he said. BBVA’s Turkish unit unveiled Garanti Technology back in 1998, anticipating that technology would be key to the future of the banking industry and this ecosystem has been the driving force behind the transformation of all subsidiaries, especially Garanti BBVA. “Garanti BBVA Technology plays a crucial role within the sector by harnessing technology to develop new business models and enabling our bank to grow,” he added.

Relentless technological progress and digital transformation have been a dominant force within the banking sector and changing customer expectations are hugely important, as innovations such as mobile banking apps, online banking platforms, and digital payment systems have radically changed the banking experience among customers, Kuruöz shared with reporters. “We are constantly renewing and improving our IT processes in response to changing customer needs and making huge investments in infrastructure. Ultimately, we always use technology for the benefit of our customers, with the aim of creating value and making life that bit easier for them,” he asserted.

Garanti BBVA Technology General Manager Fatih Bektaşoğlu explained that this new unit —the ‘tech factory’ of Garanti BBVA and all its subsidiaries— is committed to designing the very future of banking with its immense engineering staff of 2,400 people. Furthermore, he noted that 41 percent of tech employees (with an average age of 34) are women and “this makes us very proud. Without question, our greatest asset at Garanti BBVA Technology is our human team,” he said.

Garanti BBVA inaugura el mayor centro tecnológico del sector bancario turco

The bank also acts as an ‘Academy Company’ within the financial sector, as it aims to train technology leaders and skilled engineers, while honing the skills of all employees through ongoing talent and development initiatives. Regarding customers, Bektaşoğlu stressed that they are at the center of Garanti BBVA’s business. One solid example of that excellence in customer experience is the customer experience design team created over a decade ago. “Thanks to our strategy, our Garanti BBVA Mobile and BonusFlaş apps have achieved the highest customer satisfaction scores,” he noted.

As for future initiatives in the technological arena, the executive underlined that in the last 18 months or so, Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI), and especially ChatGPT, has taken the world by storm. “GenAI adds intelligence and efficiency to everything it touches, while allowing us to personalize all sorts of products and services. It is also an excellent opportunity for us to become more adept at software development by relying on co-pilot technology,” he concluded.