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S. Korean banking sector dominated by a few players: data

All Headlines 09:37 February 28, 2012

SEOUL, Feb. 28 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's banking industry is dominated by the country's top five banking groups as they fiercely vie to inflate their assets through a series of mergers and acquisitions, industry data showed Tuesday.

According to the data compiled by the Financial Supervisory Service, the country's top five players -- Woori Finance Holdings Co., KB Financial Group Inc., Hana Financial Group, Shinhan Financial Group, and National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (Nonghyup) -- accounted for 71.4 percent of the banking sector's outstanding loans as of end-September.

They also gobbled up around 80.6 percent of 854 trillion won (US$758 billion) in total deposits, and the number of their branches nationwide reached 5,563, or around 74 percent of the total, the data showed.

Their strong footing in the banking segment strikes a stark contrast to their presence in 2000. The top players accounted for 41.6 percent and 48.4 percent, respectively, in the lending and deposit market in 2000, according to the data.

The Asian financial crisis that hit the nation in late 1997 changed the banking sector's landscape, as the sector was overhauled through a series of mergers and acquisitions.

The data also showed the top five players' nine banking units logged a combined 10.1 trillion won in profit last year, accounting for 84.4 percent of the total profit of 12 trillion won racked up by the country's 18 banks.

Shinhan Financial chalked up a profit of 3 trillion won last year, and KB Financial and Woori Financial reach reported some 2 trillion won in profit.

sam@yna.co.kr
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