KEB Hana Bank obtains greenlight to open branch in Taiwan

06/17/2021 10:32 PM
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KEB Hana Bank. Photo courtesy of Yonhap News Agency
KEB Hana Bank. Photo courtesy of Yonhap News Agency

Taipei, June 17 (CNA) Seoul-headquartered KEB Hana Bank has secured approval from Taiwan's financial authorities to open a branch in Taiwan, making it the first bank from South Korea to set up a foothold in the country, the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) said on Thursday.

The FSC, the top financial regulator in Taiwan, said that since a foreign bank has to open a branch in Taiwan within eight months after getting the greenlight, KEB Hana Bank is expected to open an outlet before the next Lunar New Year holiday begins on Feb. 9, 2022.

As Taipei has been among the top 10 trading partners of Seoul and both sides have forged close business ties, the FSC said, KEB Hana Bank's move to set up a presence in Taiwan is aimed at extending its overseas reach by setting up cross border financial links in the two countries.

In 2019, the FSC said, KEB Hana Bank started to explore the possibility of opening an outlet in Taiwan and launched a survey on the financial market and regulations in the country, while establishing contacts with and seeking approval from the commission to come to Taiwan.

If KEB Hana Bank opens a branch in Taiwan as planned, the bank will become the 30th foreign bank to have a foothold in the local financial market, according to the FSC.

Tung Cheng-chang (童政彰), chief secretary of the FSC's Banking Bureau, told reporters that KEB Hana Bank's presence in Taiwan is expected to help the local financial market boost its international visibility.

Moreover, Tung said, through the Korean bank, Taiwan and South Korea are expected to cement their bilateral trading and investment relationship.

According to the FSC, KEB Hana Bank, founded in 1971, has operated the largest global network among banks in South Korea, with a total of 195 outlets in the world.

The FSC said the bank specializes in a wide range of operations, such as corporate banking, consumer banking, trust business and pension fund management.

KEB Hana Bank posted about NT$68.2 billion (US$2.45 billion) in pretax profit in 2020, with a bad loan ratio at 0.28 percent, the FSC said.

The FSC said the bank is planning to develop corporate banking in Taiwan during its initial stage in the country, and its Taiwan outlet is expected to break even in 2023.

Citing the Banker's rankings at the end of July 2020, the FSC said KEB Hana Bank took the 78th place in the world in total assets and the 81st spot in Tier 1 capital, the core capital in a bank, qualifying it to set up a branch in Taiwan.

(By Hsieh Fang-wu and Frances Huang)

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