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Average pay at Korea's top 4 banks exceeds W100m for first time

Head offices of South Korea`s top four banks, all located in Seoul (Photos provided by companies)
Head offices of South Korea`s top four banks, all located in Seoul (Photos provided by companies)
The average annual salary at South Korea’s top four banks exceeded 100 million won ($82,500) for the first time last year, backed by a surge in interest and fee revenue, data showed Sunday.

Bankers under the four commercial banks here -- KB Kookmin, Shinhan, Hana and Woori -- received an average 105.5 million won last year, 7.6 percent up from the previous year, according to their annual reports. The figure includes the employees’ base salary, performance pay and bonuses.

The average salary stood at 98 million won in 2020 and 95.5 million won in 2019.

By bank, KB Kookmin handed out the highest average annual salary at 112 million won, with Shinhan coming in at No. 2 with 107 million won. Hana followed with 106 million won and Woori’s was 97 million won.

Shinhan bankers saw their average salary jump the most on-year, gaining 11.5 percent in the cited period. KB Kookmin bankers saw their income increase 7.7 percent, while those under Hana saw a 9.3 percent gain. Woori’s inched up 2.1 percent.

The top four banks all saw their annual net profit surpass a record 2 trillion won last year, buoyed by an increase in interest and fee revenue, as borrowers rushed to get more loans amid a record-low interest rate.

KB Kookmin, currently the nation’s top bank by total assets and net profit, saw its net income gain 13.1 percent on-year to 2.56 trillion won last year. Shinhan’s net profit gained 20 percent on-year to 2.49 trillion won, while Hana’s net income increased 27.2 percent to 2.57 trillion won in the same period. Woori’s net income jumped 74 percent on-year to 2.38 trillion won in the meantime.

But the banks’ top earners were mostly those who chose to leave the bank last year by applying for early retirement packages.

Shinhan’s top five earners were all those who received early retirement fees, each receiving between 832 million won to 876 million won in the cited period. It was more than the 825 million won the bank’s CEO Jin Ok-dong received last year.

Hana’s top five earners were also all retired bankers who received between 751 million won to 805 million won. CEO Park Sung-ho earned a total of 534 million won last year.

Woori’s top earner, meanwhile, was CEO Kwon Kwang-seok, who earned 940 million won alone last year. But the rest of its top five earners were all retirees who received between 797 million won to 839 million won as part of their packages.

Like Woori, KB Kookmin’s top earner was Hur Yin, the then-CEO and now-vice chairman of its holding group, who was paid 1.56 billion won last year. Of the remaining top five, only two were early retirees who received some 800 million won each, while one was a normal retiree who was given 1.04 billion won.

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