Send to

Top bankers call for level playing field with IT firms

July 23, 2020 - 17:56 By Kim Young-won
(From second left, clockwise) Shinhan Financial Group Chairman Cho Yong-byoung, Hana Financial Group Chairman Kim Jung-tai, NH NongHyup Financial Group Chairman Kim Kwang-soo, Woori Financial Group Chairman Sohn Tae-seung, Financial Services Commission Eun Seong-soo and KB Financial Group Chairman Yoon Jong-kyoo attend a breakfast meeting held at a restaurant in Seoul on Thursday. (FSC)

Top executives of South Korea’s five major banking giants on Thursday requested authorities to maintain fair regulatory standards amid the fast rise of tech-driven financial services that are relatively loosely regulated.

Chairmen from KB Financial Group, Shinhan Financial Group, Woori Financial Group, Hana Financial Group and NH Financial Group participated in a meeting with Financial Services Commission Chairman Eun Sung-soo to discuss response measures to counter the new coronavirus crisis fallout and issues linked to the fintech area.

The five chiefs, including KB Financial Chairman Yoon Jong-kyoo, and Shinhan Financial Chairman Cho Yong-byoung, pointed out that tech firms, like Kakao and Naver, are not subject to the same financial regulations as the banks although they run financial services, including mobile payment.

They claimed that lenient rules for tech companies make things difficult for the conventional financial institutes to compete in a fair manner, asking Eun to address issues linked to the foray of tech companies in the financial market.

Fintech firms, for example, can easily share customer data with their affiliated firms while financial conglomerates are strictly restricted.

Eun said the FSC would try to form a consultation group to level the playing field for both traditional banks and emerging fintech companies.

Meanwhile, the heads said the banks will gauge the exact impact of the coronavirus pandemic and businesses’ financial status before deciding to extend the maturity of debts and interest payments for companies.

After the nation took a hit from the new coronavirus earlier this year, the banking groups decided to extend maturity of loans and delay interest payments by the end of September.

The FSC chairman and the five CEOs, including Yoon of KB, and Cho of Shinhan, agreed to continue keeping a close eye on the impact of the virus on small businesses before executing such additional financial measures.

At the meeting, Eun also called for the banking companies’ support for Korea’s “New Deal” economic policy, which the government has recently announced to prop up the coronavirus-hit economy.

“Most of the core projects under the New Deal policy need a massive amount of funds and it will be extremely challenging to execute the plan, so support from the financial industry is essential to make the economic policy successful,” Eun said.

In response to the request, the top bankers pledged that they would figure out ways to support the government-led project.

By Kim Young-won (