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Internet-only K-Bank joins banking federation

The internet-only K-Bank, which is expected to launch operations in late February, has become a new member of the Korea Federation of Banks as of Tuesday, the KFB said.

It is the first time that the KFB added a new bank member in 25 years since Pyeonghwa Bank joined the association in 1992.

K-Bank‘s head office in Gwanghwamun in Seoul. (K-Bank)
K-Bank‘s head office in Gwanghwamun in Seoul. (K-Bank)

The number of KFB members is now 21 with the joining of K-Bank.

Among nonbanking financial institutions, the Korea Housing Finance Corp. and the Korea Finance Corp. joined the group in 2005 and 2009, respectively.

The number of KFB members peaked at 35 in 1997 and has declined to 20 since, with merges and acquisitions of financial firms in the wake of the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

Before K-Bank launches, the KFB will link its electronic system with the internet-only bank, the federation said.

“The KFB will actively support K-Bank to provide innovative financial services such as big data-based mid-range interest rate loans. We hope these services help the overall banking industry improve competitiveness,” the KFB said in a statement.

The KFB also urged lawmakers to pass a revision bill to allow IT firms such as KT and Kakao to have higher share in a bank to ensure stable management of internet-only banks.

K-Bank is a consortium led by telco giant KT and 20 other firms including Woori Bank and NH Investment & Securities.

Currently, conglomerates are banned from owing a more than 10 percent stake in a bank. If their voting rights are involved, their stake is limited to 4 percent.

K-Bank’s rival Kakao Bank, a consortium led by mobile messenger app operator Kakao Corp., is expected to get a business license from the Financial Services Commission within the first quarter and launch service in the second quarter. 

By Kim Yoon-mi (
Korea Herald Youtube