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KB Financial focuses on customer value

Group provides more financial services, upholds transparency in governance


KB Financial Group is stepping up efforts to improve financial services and maximize customer satisfaction to better meet a fast changing business environment.

The group was established in September 2008 under a long term growth plan and an extensive stock transfer from major subsidiaries.

Its units include Kookmin Bank, KB Kookmin Card, KB Investment & Securities, KB Life Insurance, KB Asset Management, KB Real Estate Trust and KB Futures.

Among the group’s overseas units are Kookmin Bank Hong Kong Ltd., Kookmin Bank International Ltd., KB Cambodia PLC., KB Investment & Securities Hong Kong Ltd.

Via the expansion of its non-bank affiliated operations and multiple financial service offerings, KB Financial plans to increase customer satisfaction and create synergy through maximization of brand value ultimately contributing to the growth of the nation’s financial industry.

The group is making efforts to bolster its corporate value through continual improvement of corporate governance and by creating a sound and transparent management environment.

It is also doing its best to protect and improve the rights and interests of all interested parties with an independent board of directors and an auditing organization with a responsible management system.

It deals with matters related to corporate governance, corporate information and investor relations via its website in real time and makes public information through the Financial Supervisory Service and the Korea Exchange.

Earlier this month, KB Financial launched a stand-alone credit card firm eight years after the money-spinning unit was merged into the bank in 2003.
Kookmin Bank headquarters in Yeouido, Seoul (KB Financial Group)
Kookmin Bank headquarters in Yeouido, Seoul (KB Financial Group)

The unit has been renamed KB Kookmin Card. It had operated businesses as Kookmin Credit Card until the credit card fiasco hit the nation’s financial markets.

During the launching event in Seoul, KB Kookmin Card president & CEO Choi Gi-eui unveiled his vision of capturing the dominant market share in the coming years.

The company ― while it was a unit of Kookmin Bank ― has been in second place following the No. 1, Shinhan Card, a subsidiary of Shinhan Financial Group.

“The recent business environment surrounding the credit card industry is not favorable,” Choi said. “I believe we can retake first place on a mid- and long-term basis if we carry out goals with realistic possibilities rather than setting up reckless goals.”

He said the company will push ahead with diversifying products and expand the trendy credit card-telecommunication convergence sector including mobile-oriented products.
KB Financial Group chairman Euh Yoon-dae. (The Korea Herald)
KB Financial Group chairman Euh Yoon-dae. (The Korea Herald)

He also said the company would make the the financial group’s branches nationwide provide specialized services.

“We also plan to launch new services like consumer financing and insurance in order to overtake our rivals.”

The decision of KB Financial to float a stand-alone credit card affiliate was part of the group’s broader strategy to dilute its heavy dependency on banking profits and nurture earnings from non-banking units.

Group chairman & CEO Euh Yoon-dae also expressed his strong expectations in his congratulatory speech.

“I hope KB Kookmin Card to take the initiative in new paradigms of the credit card industry,” Euh said. “We will be able to regain the market power by pushing for marketing for the majority of Koreans.”

With the operation of the card business, strategic management goals for business diversification will also be attainable, he added.

The separation of the card unit is a key enterprise of Euh to improve the profitability of the struggling banking titan Kookmin Bank.

KB Kookmin, which has been 100-percent funded by KB Financial, has about 1,300 staff, equity capital of 2.4 trillion won and total assets of 12.4 trillion won.

In July 2010, Euh was elected as chairman of the group in in appreciation of his extensive experience and track record in a wide spectrum of the financial industry, government bodies and academic sphere.

Since Euh’s taking office, KB Financial is considering strategic tie-ups with global banking groups.

“I expect that such partnerships will provide for high-quality financial services to Korean corporate operations there,” he said.

He visited the U.S., Singapore and other countries during the fourth quarter of 2010 to meet KB’s investors and the chief executives of leading lenders partly to lay the foundations for future alliances.

His prudence and focus have been widely praised in the market, raising hopes that the banking group will recover much faster than expected from the impact of the global financial crisis and slowdown in the domestic property market.

Euh has exhibited the managerial talent he honed while studying international finance, running Korea University, advising a number of leading companies and, most recently, chairing the presidential committee for national branding.

His footsteps in the financial sector started as a member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of Korea in 1992.

After his service at the BOK for three years, he assumed board member roles at the Korea Development Bank from 1996 to 1997, and at Korea First Bank between 1998 and 1999.

The group operates seven committees such as board steering committee, management strategy committee, audit committee, management strategy committee, audit committee and evaluation and compensation committee.

The group improves management transparency by non-executive director’s evaluation system, executes education about general services of the company to strengthen substantial monitoring capability.

It also provides the animation of general shareholders meeting in the company website to protect the shareholders’ rights.

The group reflects minor shareholders’ intention through the voting system in writing based on a cumulative voting system.

KB Financial is executing sustainable social contribution activities in every country and community with Kookmin Bank and it is making efforts to lead the development of the financial industry and do its responsibility as a center of the nation’s economy.

To realize the goal, the group represents its originality by utilizing the capability and characteristics based upon the philosophy of social contribution to neighbors.

Particularly, the group places a great deal of weight on a social contribution strategy of supporting juveniles’ education to foster their talent to lead the future in harmony with the characteristics of future-oriented industry.

It makes efforts to do the enterprise’s social responsibility through sustainable sharing to support the low-income bracket.

By Kim Yon-se (kys@heraldcorp.com)
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