RETAIL BANKING | Staff Reporter, Korea

South Korea's big banks poised to hit year-end offshore profit record

This would mark the first time the KRW1t ($897.5m) mark has been breached.

The combined profit from the overseas operations of South Korea’s four largest banks are expected to breach the $897.5m (KRW1t) mark for the first time by the end of 2018.

Also read: South Korean banks to launch North Korean financial products

This comes after KB Kookim, Shinhan, KEB Hana and Woori reported $474.69m (KRW527.2b) in net profits from offshore operations in the first six months of 2018 in line with the government’s encouragement to expand banking presence in emerging markets in Southeast Asia.

The Financial Supervisory Service is also helping in this initiative by opening a one-on-one consulting service on its website that will respond to financial firms seeking advice on overseas expansion. 

"We will then build a database of our consulting logs with the nation's financial firms. We expect the efforts will help facilitate their advance into overseas markets. Companies will also be able to submit their needs and suggestions via the webpage," Financial Hub Korea (FHK) head Jin Tae-kyoung told The Korea Times.

Profits from overseas branches alone surged 20 YoY to $407.34m (KRW452.4b), In contrast, profits from overseas investments fell $58.33m (KRW64.8b). 

The number of branches of Korean banks operating abroad reached 431 at the end of 2017, up from 407 in 2016 and 382 in 2013.

Shinhan Bank has been actively pursuing its expansion plans as it is planning to open four more branches in Vietnam which will bring its branch network to 30 branches. Woori is also planning to open six more branches in the country within the year. 

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