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BANKING TECHNOLOGY | Cesar Tordesillas, Korea
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Shinhan leads smart banking

Shinhan Bank is now looking to leverage its dominance to the rapidly-growing market for financial services provided on smartphones and tablet computers.

There are more than 10 million smartphone users currently subscribed to mobile banking services provided by commercial lenders. Shinhan’s customers account for about 2.6 million of them.

While it is the fourth-largest lender by size of assets, Shinhan enjoys a comfortable lead in profit thanks to an ideal balance between corporate and retail banking and good risk management.

Its ability to be attentive to different types of customers and provide tailored services to them has been an important strength behind the company’s rise, said the lender’s CEO Suh Jin-won.

The lender has prided itself as a trendsetter in the mobile banking arena. Its Shinhan S Bank application, downloadable on Apple’s iPhones and iPads and the slew of devices powered by Google’s Android operating system, allows customers to access and execute most banking services without visiting a brick-and-mortar branch.

The program also provides real-time information from each branch, allowing the user to find the closest one or the least crowded one and even reserve a meeting with a teller. Another version of the app tailored for corporate customers provides an easy way to calculate borrowing costs for each company depending on its credit rating.

Shinhan Smail is software that allows customers to monitor their banking transactions on their handsets free of charge. The bank said it has garnered more than 160,000 users for Smail just six months after its launch as most rival companies provide such services through text messages for a nominal fee.

The bank’s Money Mentor app enables customers to track their accounts in banks, securities companies, insurance providers and credit card firms at once.

Another app, dubbed Shinhan S Property Trends, provides smartphone users the latest movement in house prices and rents, while Secretary Kim is an app that helps users plan and set budgets for business meetings.

To support these mobile service platforms, Shinhan is operating several online consultation services, including the Shinhan Smart Fund Center and Shinhan Smart Loan Center, to connect customers with experts at the relevant division of the bank.

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