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Korean banks’ overseas performance jumps nearly 50%, boosted by interest revenue

Sept. 6, 2017 - 17:08 By Son Ji-hyoung
South Korean banks saw a nearly 50 percent increase on-year in net profit from offshore banking units in the first half of this year on surge in interest revenue, while the reliance on the overseas business dropped to a third over the cited period, data showed Wednesday.

The net profit of all 184 offshore banking entities during the first half came to $461.2 million, up 48.7 percent from a year prior, according to data by the Financial Supervisory Service. In the first half of 2016, net revenue from overseas business stood at $310.2 million.

The proportion of overseas net profit out of gross net profit from January to June at home and abroad dropped to 6.5 percent, a third of 19.2 percent a year prior.

The FSS cited a surge in interest revenue on bonds by 13.7 percent on-year, as outstanding loans in overseas markets rose 10.7 percent during the first half.

(Herald DB)
As of June this year, 11 banks -- three state-run banks, five commercial banks and three provincial banks -- operated foreign business entities, up from 10 in June 2016. The Jeonbuk Bank, a provincial bank, joined the list by owning 50 percent of stakes of Phnom Penh Commercial Bank in Cambodia in August 2016.

Korean banks created six more foreign units over the cited period, data also showed. This includes Woori Bank’s Poland office, marking a first Korean banking entity in the nation. No closures of offshore branches was reported.

The assets managed by the units -- 51 corporations, 75 branches and 58 offices in 41 countries -- amounted to $101.2 billion as of June, with branches in China taking up the largest share: 24.3 percent.

The entities’ nonperforming loan ratios dropped to 0.9 percent overall in June, down 0.2 percentage point from 2016, with the United Kingdom contributing the most to the trend.

As to the number of offshore units, Vietnam topped all 41 countries for more than two years as of June.

Vietnam embraced 19 Korean banking entities since May 2015, when KEB Hana Bank, a commercial bank, began operating a branch in Ho Chi Minh City. In 2013, Vietnam with 17 units was just behind of China with 18 units, but Korean units in China reported to the FSS began to shrink to 15 in 2014.

KEB Hana Bank ran 34 units overseas, while Woori Bank operated nine offshore corporations, making them the largest two offshore operators among all banks as of June.

By Son Ji-hyoung