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KEB Hana Bank sets sail as No. 1 lender

Sept. 1, 2015 - 18:43 By Chung Joo-won
KEB Hana Bank, the result of a merger between Korea Exchange Bank and Hana Bank, was launched on Tuesday, vowing to lead the banking industry with stronger asset management services.
Hana Financial Group chairman Kim Jung-tai (center, front row) and KEB Hana Bank president Ham Young-joo (fourth from right, front row) attend the launching ceremony of KEB Hana Bank in the bank’s headquarters in central Seoul on Tuesday. (KEB Hana Bank)

Upon officially capping the KEB-Hana merger, the new entity rose to become the nation’s largest lender, with assets of 298.8 trillion won ($254.8 billion).

Ham Young-joo, the first president and CEO of KEB Hana Bank, stressed on strong performance in sales. He said the banking scene was going through substantial changes, such as the advent of account switch services and individual savings account services.

“No top-class bank has weak earnings,” Ham said in the press conference held in the former KEB headquarters in central Seoul, following the launch ceremony.

In order to secure a larger pool of customers amid the current low-interest tide, the former KEB labor union leader vowed stronger sales based on combining the comparative advantages of KEB and Hana Bank.

Ham said the bank must maximize synergy out of the former Hana Bank’s excellence in asset management and the former KEB’s global and investment banking. This requires strong chemistry between the officials of former KEB and Hana Bank employees, he added.

In addition, Ham vowed to launch training sessions to make all KEB Hana Bank officials professional asset managers.

Ham also said the bank would offer improved package deals that bundled the financial services of its affiliates, such as card issuance, securities, capital, insurance and savings bank. In upcoming October, Hana Financial Group will launch “Hana Members” that can be used to pay loan interest.

The CEO also vowed to strengthen risk management, diversification of portfolios and contributions to the community.

Ham said, “A bike that does not advance is doomed to fall, and so is (a bank) that adheres to the old way ― This is why change and innovation cannot be more appreciated at this moment.”

The launch came 14 months after Hana Financial Group chairman and chief executive Kim Jung-tai announced the merger plan on July 3. After seven months of intense negotiations between the group and the KEB labor union, the KEB Hana Bank won the official merger approval from the Financial Services Commission on Aug. 19.

By Chung Joo-won (