By Anna J. Park
Korean banks have strengthened their foothold in Southeast Asia by opening more branches and corporate entities in the rapidly-growing market, the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) said Wednesday.
According to data from the financial watchdog, the number of Korean bank outlets operating abroad ― corporate bodies, branches and offices ― came to 195 in 39 countries at the end of last year, up five from the previous year.
The newly added operations are mostly located in Southeast Asian countries, including India, Indonesia and Vietnam.
While nearly 70 percent of all the banks are located in Asian continent, 41.5 percent of the total number of 195 are based in nine Southeast Asian countries, namely Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand and the Philippines.
The number of Korean banks' outlets in the nine countries increased to 81 at the end of 2019 from 75 at the end of 2017. Their combined total assets and net profits also jumped to $30.59 billion and $364.4 million, respectively, from $21.04 billion and $239 million, during the same period.
The total assets in the overseas markets owned by the Korean banks stood at $133.69 billion at the end of last year, up 16.4 percent from the previous year. The figure accounts for about 5.7 percent of the total assets of all the Korean banks.
Out of the total number of 195, Hana Bank has 35 operations overseas, the largest number among the Korean banks, followed by Woori Bank standing at 32, Shinhan Bank at 28, and Exim Bank at 27.
KDB Bank runs 24, followed by Industrial Bank of Korea with 15, Kookmin Bank with 14 and NongHyup Bank with 8.