Under its Three Highs Loan Policy, the Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK) in February provided a total of 2 trillion won in loans, consisting of 1 trillion won each to small individual businessmen, and SMEs with mid-level credit ratings.
Loans with the Special Support Program, for small business firms with fewer than 10 employees, come with lower interest rates to help spur investment. Under the program, borrowers can take out loans with or without collateral, which favors small private businesspeople whose capacity to back up their loans with credit guarantees has dried up. IBK has also been extending financial support to business firms operating in China that have been hurt from Chinese retaliation on THAAD. The bank provided 100 billion won in special loans to those firms in such businesses as transportation, lodging, retailing and restaurants, among others. Those business firms received as much as 300 million won each at a lower interest rate under simplified loan procedures.
Companies that want special support can get it by applying for support with detailed reports on their damage from Chinese measures to restrict their business operations in China, and Korea’s tourism businesses in particular. IBK also signed an agreement with the Korea Technology Finance Corp. (Kibo) in April to help the business firms leading the 4th Industrial Revolution. Under the agreement, IBK will provide 11 billion won to Kibo to be used to issue technology credit guarantees by Kibo for SMEs with promising technologies.
“This year will be one of the toughest years with both crisis and opportunity co-existing in the financial market. We have to check the profit models of each sector of our operations and seek new profit sources to maintain the bank’ s steady growth,” said President Kim Do-jin of the Industrial Bank of Korea in explaining the bank’ s operating plans for this year.
In a nutshell, the CEO said the bank should seek new growth engines to boost its profit level in order to ensure its continued steady growth in the years ahead.
The bank increased its loans to SMEs this year, despite difficult times ahead for its operations due to the sluggish economic conditions. CEO Kim wants the bank to develop new financial products so popular that customers will line up for them.
IBK’s individual clients exceeded 10 million in May 2011 and have increased by 1 million annually since then due to its marketing efforts. One ad that has paid off in attracting new customers involves TV personality Song Hae. This year the bank will promote its “truly good friend card” to attract new customers.
IBK is known for diverse programs to help customers, and the bank has been building facilities and services so its customers can experience a variety of banking deals on the internet and through their smart phones, as well as subscriptions for financial goods, asset management, on-screen meetings and others. The bank is intent on building a system under the “Visiting Smart Finance” program, which invites all people to deal with IBK all around the country.
IBK said it looks forward to expanding its financial assistance to SMEs more than last year, and is not concerned with the various obstacles facing the banking industry, such as low-interest rates and low economic growth. The bank will help those SMEs struggling with shortages in liquidity by providing them with extra loans for their operation funds and for facility construction as a leading bank for shared growth between large and small firms by developing financial products and services to expand their relationships.