We left an extraordinary year behind us. The year 2020 disrupted all of our estimates and objectives set at the beginning of the year, making us prioritize human health above anything else.
The pandemic did not only affect health; it also caused us to expect the world's most significant economic recession sincethe Second World War. In its Global Economic Outlook for January 2021, The World Bank stated that they expected the global economy to contract by 4.3% due to the pandemic of COVID-19 in 2020.
In Turkey, thanks to measures taken especially for the survival of the real sector as well as the initiatives taken by the government and the banking industry on this issue, the economic crisis will be overcome more easily. As a result of these initiatives, we project the growth in tthe Turkish economy to be around 1.5% in 2020.
The World Bank projects 5% GDP growth for Turkey in 2021. In a statement published within this week, the IMF announced its growth projection for Turkey in 2021 as 6%, noting that recent monetary measures taken have increased the confidence in Turkish Lira.
The initiation of vaccinations gives us hope that we will be in a safer world especially in the second half of the year, compared to 2020.
With indications that global commerce will be more vigorous in the second half of 2021, a growth of 4.0% and 3.8% is expected globally for 2021 and 2022, respectively.
All of us must be prepared for a much more important process after taking the pandemic under control and slowing down the economic crisis. Other key issues of this year will include global warming and the exhaustion of natural life sources of the globe, particularly water. All of us should strive for a more sustainable world with lower carbon emissions.
As a result of the pandemic, we cannot deny that digitalization will increase even more than we expected. During this crisis, the banking industry and QNB Finansbank quickly adapted to the process as institutions that were better able to digitalize their activities.
However, now, all components of the economy, from individuals to the smallest enterprises, will complete their digitalization process in the fastest manner. From now on, the economy will facilitate the rapid growth of entities adopting the fastest and state of art technologies.
As QNB Finansbank, we will continue to lead the industry in the processes of digitalization and new technologies, that have accelerated with the outbreak of the pandemic.
In this new world, we will maintain our growth with a new, more digital management structure that facilitates work from home and focuses on technology and people.
With projects conducted as part of our corporate social responsibility platform "Small Hands Big Dreams", we will continue to help children prepare for the future. We will commit to making the future more positive by embracing the principle of "sustainability for a more habitable world".
In 2020, we sustained our consistent growth despite these chaotic conditions. In spite of these challenges arising from COVID-19, slowed economic growth, containment measures, and intense competition of public banks, we reached the end of 2020 successfully. We managed to have a sound balance sheet by taking measured risks aligned with robust credit policies. By assessing the conditions created by the pandemic, we focused on developing innovative and creative solutions in many areas. We achieved significant productivity growth with new ways of doing business.
Our affiliates also showed a great performance this year. They cooperated effectively with the Bank and contributed positively to the financial performance of our group.
As of 31 December 2020, the total assets of our Bank amounted to TL 227 billion 253 million, increasing by 25% compared to the year-end of 2019. In the same period, net loans increased by 25%, reaching TL 138 billion 719 million, while customer deposits rose by 26%, reaching TL 125 billion 976 million. Bank’s net profit for the year 2020 realized at TL 2 billion 487 million.
Once again, I would like to thank all of my colleagues, their families who have supported them during pandemic period, clients, and stakeholders for their contributions which helped the growth of QNB Finansbank under the extraordinary conditions of 2020.
Ömer A. Aras