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Hana chief hints at rate cuts for borrowers

March 27, 2023 - 16:17 By Song Seung-hyun
Hana Financial Group Chairman Ham Young-joo speaks during a meeting with executives held at the group's headquarters in Seoul on Monday. (Hana Financial Group)

Hana Financial Group Chairman Ham Young-joo on Monday hinted at adjusting interest rates as part of efforts to ease the growing financial burdens of customers.

Ham, at a meeting with executives across affiliates to mark his first anniversary in office, emphasized the need to thoroughly review the system that determines interest rates and fees for financial products.

He also urged executives to be more flexible in reviewing interest rate reduction requests from customers and to preemptively tackle potential difficulties through data analysis.

He also stressed that it is necessary to expand various support programs, including funding and business consulting, for small- and medium-sized enterprises struggling with the economic downturn.

It is important, he said, to make sure that Hana’s digital infrastructure and data are shared with innovative companies to support their growth.

"To achieve innovation in digital finance, we need to cooperate with various companies, including startups, and make an effort to grow together with society," Ham said.

Toward the end of the meeting, he also talked about the need for changes to begin from within, citing a performance-based reward system, a more transparent and reliable management system and education for heightened internal scrutiny.

Ham took office as chairman of Hana, one of the nation’s top four financial giants, in March last year, replacing former Chairman Kim Jung-tai, who was at the helm for a decade.

The 67-year-old Ham entered Seoul Bank -- a predecessor of Hana Bank -- in 1980 as a teller. He is a rare figure who has climbed his way from the bottom of the ladder to the top of the country’s exclusive circle of banking elites.