Colendi Gets Approval to Launch Digital Bank in Turkey

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Turkish FinTech Colendi says it’s set to launch the country’s first digital deposit bank.

That announcement came Monday (Aug. 21), after Colendi received approval from the Turkish Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BRSA).

“As Turkey’s first digital bank, ColendiBank will target growing the platform to reach 50 million customers regionally, making it a leading global player in financial technology innovation,” the company said in a news release.

Colendi says it plans to leverage its artificial intelligence (AI) technology to introduce a range of services “accessible through the digital deposit and service banking model.”

Bülent Tekmen, Colendi’s co-founder and CEO, said the bank’s purchase of London-based SETL, the main technology partner for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s digital dollar project, had been a driving force behind the new digital bank.

According to the release, Colendi raised $30 million in a Series A round in 2021, and has seen its valuation climb from $120 million to $750 million.

“It has been an exciting 2½ years,” said Ian Hannam, the British chairman of Colendi. “Our next step is to expand into new markets. Turkey’s regulative environment is almost identical to the EU and MENA,” he added, referring to the European Union and Middle East/North Africa.

PYMNTS looked at the digital banking landscape in Turkey earlier this year in a conversation with Nezih Sipahioglu, founder and CEO of FinTech Sipay, which offers a single-API virtual point-of-sale (POS) solution.

 “Instead of going to 15 different banks, merchants come to us, and we sort out their online and offline payment processing,” he said. 

Aside from that card processing payment gateway, the payments company also provides a white-label digital wallet solution that allows retail brands to gain access to services from multiple banks in one app, whether comparing microcredit offers or applying for a credit card.

“It’s more like a platform marketplace. If you want to apply for a microcredit loan from SipPay, you can apply for it from four different banks,” he explained, adding that the firm is re-creating services provided by firms like Stripe and Revolut in the local market.

Sipahioglu added that demand for the digital wallet solution has jumped due to the growing eCommerce market, with customers hoping to benefit from an open-loop payment solution that lets them make payments at different locations from a single, centralized mobile wallet. 

Image by: Pixabay

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