Turkey called on private banks on Sunday to do more to help customers hurt by the economic impact of the coronavirus, saying that state-owned banks had offered delays in repayments for loans.
“While our state banks are standing by our citizens with all the resources they have, we are utterly saddened by the attitude of the privately held banks,” Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said in a video he posted on Twitter.
State-owned Ziraat Bank, Halkbank and VakifBank had allowed customers to delay payments of loan and credit card debt worth more than 60 billion lira ($9 billion), Albayrak said.
“I, once again, invite private banks to be a part of our unity and solidarity during these times with their attitude,” he said, without identifying private banks by name or specifying what action he expected them to take.
More than 1,000 people have been killed by the coronavirus in Turkey. Turks have been told to stay at home and self-isolate but some people are still going to work as President Tayyip Erdogan seeks to sustain economic production and exports.
Ankara has also halted all flights, restricted domestic travel, closed schools and cafes, and cancelled gatherings and events to stem the spread of the virus. Thirty-one major cities were placed under a full two-day lockdown this Saturday and Sunday.
The government has introduced financial support for families with low income, launched a donation campaign and also offered state-guaranteed loans for companies and small businesses.