Parliament set to hold plenary session over key bills

By Yonhap
  • Published : Aug 30, 2018 - 11:29
  • Updated : Aug 30, 2018 - 11:29

The National Assembly is set to hold its plenary session Thursday amid attention over whether bills on easing Internet-only banks' ownership restriction and other business deregulation will be passed.

Rival parties earlier agreed to handle key proposals on the economy and deregulation at the ongoing extraordinary session in August.

The bill aimed at raising nonfinancial firms' ownership limit in web-only banks from the current 4 percent is one of contentious proposals pending in parliament.


Rival parties have yet to narrow differences on the scope of the ownership cap and how to define nonfinancial firms that would be subject to the envisioned deregulation.

The current bank law prevents family-owned conglomerates from gaining control of lenders on concerns that they could easily get credit for their expansions.

President Moon Jae-in hopes to ease the regulation on Internet-only banks' ownership to foster innovation in the financial sector as part of his reform drive.

Two Internet-only banks -- K-Bank and Kakao Bank -- were launched last year, but they have faced difficulty in achieving sustainable growth as their two biggest shareholders, KT and Kakao, are unable to issue shares for the banks' capital increase.

The DP wants the enactment of a special law that calls for boosting commercial capital's ownership cap to 25-34 percent. But the main opposition Liberty Korea Party proposed a revised bill to boost the ceiling to 50 percent.

The DP also claimed that conglomerates with more than 10 trillion won ($9 billion) in assets should be excluded from a list of nonfinancial firms subject to the deregulation on Internet-only banks.

But the LKP said that the level playing field should be provided for all companies, and after then, the financial regulator should review whether they are suitable to be the biggest shareholder of web-only banks.

The floor leaders of three rival parties are expected to make last-minute efforts for a breakthrough on the bill before the plenary session slated for 2 p.m.

A set of bills on protecting tenants at commercial buildings and promoting business deregulation is also pending.

Through bipartisan cooperation, the parties tentatively agreed to increase the period for guaranteeing existing tenants' contract renewal to 10 years from the current five. The governing DP proposed 10 years, while the LKP wanted eight years.

The move comes as small businesses and self-employed businesspersons are feeling the pinch the most of a slumping economy and the government's recent minimum wage hikes.

They also agreed last week to combine their respective bills aimed at designating new business areas and districts with regulatory benefits and to try to pass them at Thursday's session.

The DP has submitted a law revision for temporarily easing regulations in an initial stage of business projects, while opposition parties' proposals call for across-the-board deregulation in designated industries. (Yonhap)