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(LEAD) K-Bank aims to post 1st profit in 2020: CEO

All Headlines 17:10 April 05, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS latest information in para 5)

SEOUL, April 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's first Internet-only bank, K-Bank, aims to report its first annual profit in 2020, the bank's chief executive has said, as it seeks to make inroads into the credit card business.

Shim Sung-hoon, CEO of K-Bank, said the bank is targeting to attract 400,000 active customers by the end of this year with deposits worth 500 billion won (US$445 million).

"Given the current situation on interest rates, I think that we could generate profits in 2020," Shim told Yonhap News Agency in an interview last Friday, two days before the bank launched its operations.

Shim said the bank is reviewing plans to launch a credit card business "as early as possible."

In just three days since launching operations on Wednesday, K-Bank, formed by a consortium of KT Corp., Woori Bank and 19 other companies, attracted 84,239 account holders. The bank also attracted time deposits worth 20 billion won.

The pace of growth in K-Bank's customer base appears to be faster than originally expected. The average monthly number of new Internet banking accounts by the nation's 16 commercial banks stood at about 12,000.

Shim Sung-hoon, CEO of K-Bank, speaks during the launch ceremony of the bank on April 3, 2017 (Yonhap)

Internet banks offer banking and other financial services without physical branch networks.

K-Bank, which is open around the clock, offers ordinary deposits, time deposits and loans with more favorable interest rates than the ones offered by traditional banks.

Among the new services by the Internet banks are new credit assessments based on big data, wealth management by artificial intelligence systems and voice recognition banking services.

One of key hurdles for K-Bank's potential growth is a law that bars a non-financial firm from owning more than 4 percent of stake at a financial firm.

Shim urged lawmakers to ease the law to allow the bank to raise new capital.

K-Bank was launched with a paid-in capital of 250 billion won.

To increase lending and meet the capital adequacy ratio established under the Bank of International Settlements, Shim said the bank must decide on a capital hike before next year's annual shareholder meeting.

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