Strategy calls for establishment of hub branches over five spoke branches to help with personnel in such sectors as wealth management to cope with expansion of non-face channel banking
President Sohn Tae-seung of Woori Bank.
Woori Bank plans to rearrange the main functions of its branches around the country under a so-called “Hub and Spoke Strategy” in the second half to keep its customers close while non-face channels for customers have been rising, which has cut the number of its outlets.
The strategy will have a main branch leading five other smaller branches close by, which was necessitated by changes in the financial environment, and will be taking shape starting with the banking outlets in suburbs of Seoul from the second half of this year, President Sohn Tae-seung said.
The number of Woori Bank’s branches has been decreasing of late from 934 in 2015 to 894 in 2016 and to 876 last year with the frequent use of online banking and smart phone banking cutting into the number of the personal visits to the banking outlets.
However, President Sohn said the bank cannot blindly follow such trends and cut the number of branches as the convenience for customers should not be overlooked.
The restructuring will take place by taking into consideration the special characteristics of the areas where those branches are located to make them vital to the everyday lives of the residents, the CEO said.
He said a branch staffed by 10 people sometimes doesn’t have more than 10 visitors in a day, adding that the branches like those should be made into “spoke” branches.
He said branches with more than 20 or 30 staff should be made “hub” branches within financial centers so that could lend a hand to the spoke branches in such areas as the wealth management if they don’t have enough personnel to take care of the sector.
He feels that the Hub and Spoke Strategy is designed to take care of the outlets with not enough personnel by sharing the personnel each other.
But he cautioned that the strategy may not be good for all branches around the country, which is why it will be limited to the suburbs of Seoul first to how it works.
Woori Bank was the first Korean bank to be established in 1899, with royal funds under the approval of Emperor Gojong, for the purpose of "facilitating the flow of funds and contributing to the development of the national economy."
Woori Bank continued its growth through the late Chosun period, the Industrial Revolution, the Asian financial crisis, and the recent global financial crisis, and thereby, prospered together with the Korean people and nation to serve as a solid backbone of the Korean financial industry.
“As we have throughout our history, Woori Bank will continue to do our utmost to provide more convenient and safer financial services to customers, and cement our position as a lifelong financial partner for all our retail and corporate customers,” it said.
Woori Bank is a bank headquartered in Seoul, South Korea and Woori Bank is a subsidiary of the parent company Woori Financial Group.
The bank was founded back in 1899, originally called Daehan Cheon-il Bank, renamed Joseon Sangup Bank in 1911, then Commercial Bank of Korea in 1950s.
Following the 1997 Asian financial crisis, it merged with the former Hanil Bank and Peace Bank to become Hanvit Bank. Woori Bank adopted its current name in 2002. Its Jongno branch is located in the Gwangtonggwan, the oldest continuously-operating bank building in Korea. It was registered as one of city's protected monuments on March 5, 2001 In 2004, Woori Bank opened its Gaeseong Industrial Complex branch, in Gaeseong, North Korea.
In May 2009, Woori Bank became the first South Korean bank to issue UnionPay debit cards in China.
In March 2010 it became the first foreign bank to issue Shanghai Tourism Cards in mainland China. Woori Bank has operations in Bangladesh, India and in Indonesia. On 14 March 2012, its Indonesian subsidiary, Bank Woori Indonesia, announced a plan to merge with a local bank, Bank Saudara.