SEOUL, July 10 (Yonhap) -- Information technology (IT) spending by more than 150 South Korean financial firms hit a record high in 2016, the central bank said Monday, in an apparent move to meet the growing demands for more wired banking services.
A total of 153 South Korean financial firms set aside 5.69 trillion won (US$4.94 billion) for IT-related spending last year, the highest since 1992, when the Bank of Korea (BOK) began to collect related data.
The move came as a growing number of people do their banking on their computers or smartphones without visiting bank branches.
The number of daily transactions processed via smartphones jumped 25.3 percent on-year to 52.9 million in 2016, with the amount of daily transactions also surging 27.6 percent to 3.12 trillion won over the cited period, according to the BOK.
The number of smartphone-based banking service users came to 74.6 million in 2016, up 15.3 percent from a year earlier, according to the BOK. South Korea has a population of 51 million, but some people have multiple smartphones.
The increased spending in information technology has led to the reduction of employees in banks and other financial firms.
Last year, the total number of employees in financial firms came to 232,621, down from 235,471 a year earlier.
Among them, the total number of employees in banks came to 121,639, down 0.8 percent from 2015. Meanwhile, the total number of employees who work in banks' IT support sector came to 4,098, up 2.6 percent from the previous year.
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