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Korea Development Bank's reorganization draws flak

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Korea Development Bank's union members stage a protest against the lender's relocation plan from Seoul to Busan, in front of its headquarters in Seoul, Tuesday. Yonhap
Korea Development Bank's union members stage a protest against the lender's relocation plan from Seoul to Busan, in front of its headquarters in Seoul, Tuesday. Yonhap

By Lee Min-hyung

The Korea Development Bank (KDB) is drawing flak over what its union calls its "unilateral push" for it to relocate to the nation's southern port city of Busan.

According to the state-run lender, the KDB carried out its 2023 organizational reshuffle by expanding its division located in Busan. Under the reshuffle, the Ocean Industry Finance unit has been enlarged into two subdivisions. About 50 to 100 KDB officials are expected to be transferred to the unit during next year's regular personnel reshuffle slated for January.

Following the decision, KDB's union members expressed strong regret, saying that this is against the KDB Act, which stipulates that the lender should be located in Seoul.

"The latest organizational reshuffle can be seen as part of a plan by the KDB management to relocate its headquarters to Busan," the union said. "We view that this goes against the KDB Act."

The union also reiterated its plan to hold KDB's directors accountable to the law over the latest decision.

The voice of opposition came a day after the KDB held a board meeting and made the decision. The lender earlier said that the move is part of its efforts to tighten risk management and establish a support system for key industries.

The KDB and its union are widely expected to escalate conflict down the road over the relocation plan, which was initially pushed by President Yoon Suk-yeol and its administration.

The legal dispute will also continue to ensue over the legal ambiguity of the relocation. The ruling People Power Party and the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea remain poles apart over the revision of the act.

The opposition side is against the plan, as they support the idea of maintaining the lender's key operations in the capital city to ensure Korea's financial competitiveness. But the ruling side calls for the need to relocate the lender's headquarters, citing balanced regional growth.
Lee Min-hyung mhlee@koreatimes.co.kr


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