A delegation from TuranBank from Azerbaijan visited Woodlands Bank of Williamsport to participate in a study tour of Woodlands' retail banking operations.
Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region located between Western Asia and Eastern Europe, having a population of 9 million people. The visit, a news release from Woodlands Bank said, was organized by the Financial Services Volunteer Corps, a not-for-profit organization that helps build sound financial systems to support market economies in transitional and developing countries. The meeting, held from Sept. 26-28, was part of a technical assistance program in conjunction with World Business Capital and the Overseas Private Investment Corp. This study tour enriched the Azerbaijani banker's knowledge of the latest techniques used in the U.S. to enhance retail banking at multiple financial institutions of different sizes, according to the release.
Over the course of the three days, they met with all levels of Woodlands Bank's staff, to observe the rhythm of daily bank operations. Woodlands Bank also shared information, focusing on how the bank develops products and sales and marketing strategies for the retail market in Central Pennsylvania to help TuranBank expand their own retail banking practices.
Woodlands Bank and TuranBank have many similarities, the release said, from their overall size to their relative structure and age. TuranBank, which considers itself to be a boutique bank in Azerbaijan, was started by a small group of Azerbaijani investors in 1991, as the country was created and grew following the fall of the Soviet Union.
TuranBank serves its customers, the news release said, through 13 branches with micro-finance, small and medium enterprise and corporate lending.
The Azerbaijani delegation remarked that their most pleasant surprise from their visit to Pennsylvania was the hospitality that their American hosts have extended to them, the release said. They will return home to their own bank in the next few days with a large amount of knowledge and experience that has been shared by their American counterparts, the release continued, as well as a communal sense of sharing and camaraderie that was developed over the course of their first visit to U.S.