The bank for a changing world

Classified as « first-category historical monument », the building standing at Cumhuriyet Bulvarı 66, in Alsancak district, was designed in 1928 by the Istanbulite Levantine Italian architect Giulio Mongeri, to serve as a branch of Banca Commerciale Italiana (BCI).

After keeping this function between 1928 and 1979, the building suffered a wear and tear time until its purchase in 1988 by Türk Ekonomi Bankası (TEB). TEB was founded in 1927 by private investors as a regional bank in İzmit under the name of Kocaeli Bankası. After it was purchased by the Çolakoğlu Group in 1982, it changed its name to TEB and became recognized a solid and prudent bank as well as a leader in foreign business. In March 2005, TEB signed a joint venture agreement with BNP Paribas. And February 2011 saw a memorable operational achievement in the Turkish banking sector with the merger of TEB with Fortis Bank AŞ, the Turkish arm of Belgian Fortis Banking Group, which had joined BNP Paribas two years before.

The İzmir branch is a rectangular two-stories building with a street façade displaying a mixed Neo-Renaissance and First Turkish National Style inspired architecture, alike the Stock Exchange building standing alongside. When the edifice was inaugurated in 1928, this ornamentation was already outdated as it drew on traditional sources which Turkish architecture was to abandon as it entered its Modernist phase promoting rationalism and functionalism. At ground level, the façade boasts a plastered surface with wide brick designs, probably made to look like the famous Dikili stones enhancing older buildings in the neighborhood, alike the Italian Girls’ School. A frieze runs under the roof, divided into five sections by the four pilasters that framed the round square arched windows. The two wings are joined by an atrium covered with a polychrome Art Nouveau stained-glass roof. The original interior sported a central wooden counter where the bank staff was dealing with the clients. Having to comply with the financial and constructional constraints of the post-fire period, the building has been constructed with reinforced concrete columns around the atrium, pre-cast ground blocks and steel beams. Giulio Mongeri was well aware of these new techniques favoured by quake and fire-risk cities as in 1913, he was a co-founder of the “Fabriques unies de ciment Aslan”, a representative of the famous French Hennebique reinforced concrete 1892 patent in Turkey.

Now, the premises serve as the Aegean Corporate Center and the Aegean Regional Private Banking office of TEB.