LENDING & CREDIT | Cesar Tordesillas, Korea

Korea Eximbank CEO aspires for global advancement

CEO Kim Yong-hwan aims is to transform Korea Eximbank from an export finance provider into a true global investment power.

He is after markets and opportunities from areas other than Korea’s main industries such as technology, cars and construction.

In fact, he is looking towards the global boom in the consumption of Korean pop music, television and films.

The bank recently announced plans to finance a project to build a medical school and general hospital in Juba, South Sudan. This was in honor of late Korea-born Catholic priest John Lee Tae-seok who died of cancer in 2010 after years of taking care of children and poverty-struck families in the war-torn country.

``The major foreign investment banks and other commercial lenders have been hit badly by the global crisis. Not many of them can invest in big international projects nowadays. But we can and this will help keep activity going where it needs to be,” said Kim.

Eximbank Korea launched a specialized investment banking department in July last year, with Kim hiring a number of industry veterans who had previously worked for global investment banks to blend with his incumbent specialists.

The goal is not entirely about profit as the bank continues to show commitment to supporting developing nations by managing the Korean government’s low-interest loans, dubbed the Economic Development Cooperation Fund.

While these have been dismal times for commercial finance companies, kicked in the teeth by the global slowdown, Kim is determined to exploit the softened competition and pounce at buy-low investment opportunities.

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