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JB Financial logs record-high net profit in 2019

Banking group attributes performance to balanced portfolio, successful ASEAN expansion

JB Financial Group’s Seoul office in Yeouido. (JB Financial)
JB Financial Group’s Seoul office in Yeouido. (JB Financial)

JB Financial Group, the holding group of North Jeolla Province-based Jeonbuk Bank, posted a record-high net profit in 2019 on the back of its balanced business portfolio and overseas expansion.

The banking group recorded 341.9 billion won ($290 million) in net profit last year, up 41.6 percent from a year earlier and hitting an all-time high, officials said Wednesday.

Its BIS capital adequacy ratio -- barometer established by the Switzerland-based Bank for International Settlements to measure the proportion of a bank’s capital to its risk assets -- also came to 13.16 percent, up 0.43 percentage point on-year.

The return on equity and return on assets both improved to the industry’s top-tier level, to 10.2 percent and 0.77 percent respectively.

“The latest indexes indicate both internal stability and better profitability for shareholders,” the group said in its release.

Also, the nonperforming loan ratio -- an indicator to assess the level of repayment risks amid uncertainties -- fell 0.04 percentage point on-year to 0.88 percent. The default rate also declined 0.16 percentage point to 0.66 percent during the same period.

Steering the progress was the balanced growth of the group’s banking and nonbanking sectors, according to officials.

The group’s two flagship banks both achieved double-digit growth in 2019, with Jeonbuk Bank logging 109.5 billion won, up 9 percent on-year, and Kwangju Bank 173.3 billion won, up 13 percent on-year. Lender JB Woori Capital also saw its net profit climb 8.9 percent on-year to 81.9 billion won.

In the overseas market, its affiliate Cambodian Phnom Penh Commercial Bank made a sweeping 40.5 percent growth in net profit and came to account for 5.7 percent of the group’s total net profit in less than three years.

Earlier in 2016, the group had acquired Phnom Penh Commercial Bank as a subsidiary of Jeonbuk Bank in a move to expand in the Southeast Asian region. Last year, the Cambodian PPCB became the first Korean financial firm operating in Cambodia to surpass 10 billion won in half-year net profit.

“Our plan is to leap forward as a small hidden champion in the financial industry by enhancing our risk management capacity and establishing a sustainable profit base,” said Chairman Kim Ki-hong.

By Bae Hyun-jung (