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KB outpaces banking rivals in Q1 with record earnings

KB Financial Group headquarters in western Seoul (KB Financial Group)
KB Financial Group headquarters in western Seoul (KB Financial Group)
South Korea’s KB Financial Group outperformed its local rivals, posting a record net profit for the first three months of the year as the banking industry’s overall performance was bolstered by a surge in interest and fee revenue, regulatory filings showed Friday.

KB’s net income gained 14.4 percent on-year to 1.45 trillion won ($1.17 billion) in the January-March period. Operating income gained 8.9 percent on-year to 1.9 trillion won in the cited period.

Interest income increased 18.6 percent on-year to 2.64 trillion won, backed by solid loans extended to households and businesses. KB plans to pay investors a dividend of 500 won per share and to regularize quarterly dividends, the firm said in a statement.

KB’s industry rival Shinhan Financial Group came in No. 2, posting a net profit of 1.40 trillion won, a record performance for the first-quarter and gaining 17.5 percent on-year. It jumped 199 percent on-quarter. Operating profit increased 13.29 percent to 1.9 trillion won, backed by revenue from interest that grew 17.4 percent on-year to 2.48 trillion won.

Shinhan plans to pay a quarterly dividend of 400 won per share and to hand out the same amount for the second and third quarter, according to the firm.

Household loans extended by its flagship Shinhan Bank declined 19.2 percent on the back of tightened regulations and screenings, but loans extended to businesses grew 1.9 percent in the cited period. 

Hana Financial Group came at No.3 with a net income of 902.2 billion won in the same period, up 8 percent from a year earlier. Operating profit increased 2.2 percent on-year to 1.1 trillion won.

Woori came at No.4 with a net profit of 884.2 billion won in the first three months of the year, up 32 percent on-year. Net income jumped 106 percent on-quarter. Operating profit gained 31.6 percent on- year to 1.23 trillion won , while interest income increased 22.7 percent to 1.99 trillion won in the same period.

Despite market concerns over financial authorities’ stricter loan regulations imposed on the banks to curb the nation’s growing household debt, banks were able to rake in money due to higher borrowing rates. The Bank of Korea raised its key interest rate by a quarter percentage point to 1.5 percent, marking its fourth pandemic-era rate hike since August last year, driving up borrowing rates.

“While concerns of an economic slowdown continue to exist as a key risk, banking groups will likely post performances that exceed expectations for some time, backed by the central bank’s rate hikes,” said Choi Jung-wook, an analyst at Hana Financial Investment.

By Jung Min-kyung (mkjung@heraldcorp.com)
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