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[Global Finance Awards] Kakao Bank accelerates transition of online retail banking services


Kakao Bank CEO Yoon Ho-young (Kakao Bank)
Kakao Bank CEO Yoon Ho-young (Kakao Bank)

Kakao Bank, South Korea’s biggest online bank, has been reshaping the banking industry here with its mobile banking services that attracted younger customers.

The ongoing coronavirus crisis has also been accelerating the offline-to-online transition, giving the online-only bank a timely chance to expand its user base in other age groups, including senior citizens.

“Kakao Bank has secured the half of the nation’s population as customers with its mobile services, offering new values with its financial products,” said an official from the online bank. “It is currently trying to appeal to people in different age groups, especially those in their 50s or older, to become the bank for all.”

The number of bank account holders at the banking unit of mobile messenger giant Kakao came in at 13.26 million as of end-October. From January to October, the figure increased a whopping 2 million. The amount of savings increased by 2.3 trillion won ($2.08 billion) to 23 trillion won, compared to the end of last year while the amount of loans taken out by its customers came in at 19 trillion won, up 4.3 trillion won.

Working with traditional financial firms, such as NH Investment & Securities and KB Securities, it has rolled out a range of online services, enabling customers to open mobile stock trading accounts and to borrow money via smartphone.

It has lent a total of 2 trillion won worth of mid-range interest rate loans so far while planning to give out 1 trillion won of loans every year by 2022.

Its versatile mobile application records the highest number of monthly active users in Korea, at 12.47 million as of October, outpacing apps run by traditional banks.

Established in January, 2016, the bank’s mobile services have been benchmarked by a lot of local financial firms. It said that it would try to expand its presence in the global market for further growth.

By Kim Young-won (