Work From Home Is Here to Stay for One of Turkey’s Biggest Banks

Yapi ve Kredi Bankasi AS will become the first Turkish lender to allow some of its employees to work from home on a permanent basis, seizing on lessons from the coronavirus pandemic to offer more flexibility and cut down on office costs.

Turkey’s third-largest private lender is introducing a remote working approach for more than a third of its staff at the headquarters in Istanbul, it said in response to questions from Bloomberg. Yapi Kredi employs around 5,500 people in a 30-story blue-glass-sheathed tower in the financial district of Levent.

Under the plan, the bank will divide employees into three groups as part of what it calls “plain working.” Only about 28% of the personnel at the headquarters will still work in their offices to comply with banking requirements and 36% will mostly operate from home. The rest will switch to a hybrid model of working both at the main office and from home, the lender said.

Yapi Kredi, in which Italy’s UniCredit SpA holds a 20% stake, is among financial institutions embracing a remote workforce even as the threat of the pandemic starts to recede.

Deutsche Bank AG is weighing a new policy that would allow most employees to permanently work from home two days a week. Mizuho Financial Group Inc. plans to trim office space in New York and London in anticipation that some staff will keep working remotely even when the health emergency is over.

New Normal

The Turkish lender said it took the decision after experiencing little disruption when more than 8,000 of its employees were sent home in March. The plan is to switch to the new working model gradually and implement it fully from the second half of the year.

The new system will free up 10% of the bank’s office space and increase room available for each employee by 30%. Yapi Kredi has 835 branches and employs more than 16,000 people nationwide. Koc Group controls around 50% of the bank and the rest is listed on Borsa Istanbul.

Turkey, a country of more than 83 million people, has had 2.4 million cases of Covid-19 and 24,161 fatalities as of Jan. 18, according to Health Ministry data. Weekend lockdowns and a curfew remain in place as authorities started a vaccination program last week.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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