South Korea plans to give preliminary approval to a third Internet-only bank in May next year as the government seeks to reinvigorate the financial industry, the head of the financial regulator said Wednesday.
Choi Jong-ku, chairman of the Financial Services Commission, told reporters that the regulator will receive applications from companies to set up an Internet-only bank in March next year.
|Chairman of the Financial Services Commission Choi Jong-ku (Yonhap)|
Two Internet-only banks -- K-Bank and Kakao Bank -- were launched last year. The two banks have challenged traditional banks in South Korea, forcing them to cut commission fees and renovate their online and mobile banking services.
By granting a permit to a third Internet-only bank, the government will continue to drive innovation and deregulation in the financial sector, Choi said.
In September, the National Assembly passed a bill that allows non-financial firms to boost their stake in Internet-only banks beyond the 4 percent ownership ceiling.
The new bill permits non-financial firms to hold up to a 34 percent stake in a web-only bank.
Earlier this week, the government announced a package of measures worth 3.5 trillion won ($3.11 billion) to support the embattled auto parts industry.
As part of the government's efforts to help small and medium-sized firms, the FSC is planning to offer them a financial support program worth 15 trillion won, Choi said. (Yonhap)