Shinhan seeks to move forward from internal conflict

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jan 9, 2014 - 20:48
  • Updated : Jan 9, 2014 - 20:51
Shinhan Financial Group chairman Han Dong-woo speaks during a meeting with reporters at the group’s headquarters in Seoul on Thursday. (Shinhan Financial Group)

Shinhan Financial Group aims to expand its services in Asian markets in a move designed to put its past internal conflicts behind and target the global markets, the head of the country’s biggest lender said on Thursday.

“Our global strategy is to find a market where we can have a competitive edge (over other regional and international banks),” Han Dong-woo, the CEO and chairman of Shinhan Financial Group, said in a meeting with reporters.

Korean banks’ overseas activities have so far been limited to corporate finance, such as lending to companies and their employees. The sector‘s retail businesses remain as a main hurdle for the banks due to their lack of networks outside of the country.

Han said he and the group are on the lookout to secure more retail clients in the Southeast Asian region, where he said “Shinhan would have an advantage.”

He pointed out that the country’s third-largest financial group has already made progress in Vietnam, as its credit card service has lured more than 70,000 clients in the country.

Internal conflict is also on the top of the list of priorities that it has to tackle before it can become a truly global company, Han noted.

Shinhan Financial Group has been embroiled in controversy since 2010, when a power struggle among its top two executives came to light.

Ex-president Shin Sang-hoon and the group’s former chairman Ra Eung-chan were forced to step down after it was found that they were involved in alleged irregular practices and an internal feud.

“We must resolve the conflict to move forward,” said Han, whose second term starts this year.

He also pledged to offer “distinguished, high-quality financial services” to meet customers’ needs.

Han said he would pursue a so-called “Warmer Finance 2.0” plan to help create a warmer society based on the benefits molded by the financial sector, adding that the group will try to help “increase clients’ assets through advanced services.”

“We will strive to ensure that customers, businesses and society grow together for a better world for all through our financial services,” he added.

Stock market investors responded favorably to Han’s remarks. Shares of Shinhan Financial Group rose 2.23 percent to close at 45,850 won on Thursday.

By Oh Kyu-wook (