WEALTH MANAGEMENT | Cesar Tordesillas, Korea

Woori to strengthen non-banking business

Woori Finance Holdings Co. seeks to acquire or merge with non-banking financial companies to diversify its bank-focused business.


State-owned Woori Finance, Korea’s second-largest banking group, was created a decade ago as the financial holding company for the already existent Woori Bank and its financial affiliates.

“Woori Finance will strengthen our relatively weak non-banking sectors by seeking mergers and acquisitions of insurance, asset management, credit card or consumer financing companies,” Woori Finance Chairman Lee Pal-seung said in a speech to employees, marking the 10th anniversary of the banking group.

The chairman said the banking group will nurture its insurance, credit card and asset management arms so that they can reach the same level as the bank unit, the second-biggest player in the local industry.

To that end, Woori Finance will spin off its credit card business from Woori Bank into a stand-alone entity by the end of June to beef up the segment, Lee said.

“Woori Finance is considering forging a joint venture between the new independent credit card unit and a telecommunications company that could create synergy effects,” Lee said. For the bank segment, he will place a priority on reducing potential risks and securing stable profit sources rather than on aggressively increasing lending. Woori will seek to boost its overseas presence this year.

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