South Korea’s first internet-only lender, K bank, saw a hike in term deposits in January backed by new customers looking to invest in bitcoins through the online bank.
Under the partnership between K bank and crypto exchange Upbit forged in June, retail investors can open a bitcoin trade account via the online lender. A bitcoin frenzy in January appears to have pushed the number of customers subscribing and depositing cash at K bank, according to market watchers.
K bank’s savings stood at 4.5 trillion won ($4.02 billion) at the end of January, adding 750 billion won from the previous month, in a record monthly growth for the company. Another internet-only bank, Kakao Bank, saw an increase of 112 billion won during the same period.
The inflow of deposits comes in contrast to the five commercial banks -- KB Kookmin, Shinhan, Hana, Woori, NH Nonghyup -- which saw a deposit decline of 5.5 trillion won combined, and 670 billion won for recurring saving accounts.
The 5-year-old online-only lender also provides an interest rate as high as 1.3 percent for one-year deposits and up to 1.8 percent for one-year installment savings. Other lenders in comparison give less than 1 percent for interest, officials said.
K bank was relaunched in July after an almost 15-month hiatus. The lender has 2.47 million customers, with a record high increase of 280,000 in January. (firstname.lastname@example.org