The bank will seek to dominate niche markets by extending finances to senior citizens and one-person households
Woori Bank President Lee Soon-woo and his staff pay homage at the Hongnyu Royal Tomb, which is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites, in Namyangju, Gyeonggi-do, in which Emperor Gojong and his son and King Yeongchin, who served as the founder and the first president of the predecessor of Woori Bank, were buried. On Jan. 2. they held the ritual in which they pledged to offer banking services in the interests of low-income people, a departure from the conventional New Year’s gathering in the bank’s auditorium.
President Lee Soon-woo of Woori Bank said the bank will try to expand its non-interest income and cut loss provisions and marketing expenses to cope with a low-growth and low-income financial environment projected for this year.
The bank sees the banking environment worsening further this year due mainly to a slow recovery of the global financial market and European and U.S. national debt problems, slowing down the growth of emerging nations’ economies, which impacted the domestic economy with rising household debts, a fall in real estate prices, a slump in domestic business trends and exports, all causing economic growth to fall.
The situation caused a narrowing of net interest margins and intensive operations have been stalled for banks due to rising calls for help to average people and protection for consumers.
The banks may have to expand their loan loss provisions with the rate of financial defaults expected to rise if the economic slowdown continues to drag on and further heats up the competition among banks to keep their profits rising.
The competition among commercial banks have now become a four-way competition with Hana Bank taking over the Korea Exchange Bank and the Industrial Bank of Korea and Nonghyup Bank now big enough to challenge the commercial banks.
Woori Bank now has set up its strategies to cope with the situation along three major points °™ strengthening of its competitive power, making its management effective, and expanding its growth engines °™ continuously taking on healthy assets and good customers.
The bank, at the same time, will double its efforts to secure senior customers, and one-person households to boost its shares of niche financial markets. The bank will reclassify its existing customers and reform its team operations to reform the evaluation system for the operational results by each team. Officials of the bank said they will go for maximization of their marketing operations through reform using the on- and offline smartphone channels.
The bank also will push its overseas expansion plans to increase its earnings now that the domestic financial market is near a saturation point. Countries in Southeast Asia and emerging market countries are on the priority list of overseas regions in which the bank will set up or expand its operations, with Indonesia and China being the most urgent countries where the bank will try to increase its domination by expanding operations.
Woori Bank has set its growth target at 3 percent to 4 percent in assets, the same as the expected economic growth level of Korea this year.
The bank will also intensify its risk management as more than the projected growth in assets means more risks for the bank to manage and, therefore, the bank intends to secure a proper level of growth this year.
But the bank will strengthen its efforts to provide more support to SMEs and poor families, moves that the bank needs to make to uphold its image as a caring bank. President Lee said the bank’s immediate aim is to win the public trust as a bank that “turns hope into love” and that the bank plans to continue to make efforts to realize “true finance,” meaning that the bank’s operations will grow together with average people and SMEs.