Top telecom company to increase stake in S. Korea's first internet bank

Park Sae-jin Reporter Posted : 2018-11-02 17:50 Updated : 2018-11-02 17:50
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[Courtesy of K Bank]

SEOUL -- South Korea's top telecom company KT plans to increase its stake in K bank, the country's first internet-only bank launched last year, to 34 percent if a new law takes effect next year, a senior official said Friday.

K bank, which started its service in April last year, is a consortium led KT and 20 other companies including GS Retail, Hanwha Life Insurance and Alipay, the payment platform of China's e-commerce giant Alibaba. For its growth, K bank relies heavily on young smartphone users.

KT chief financial officer (CFO) Yoon Kyung-keun said in a conference call that his company would try to increase its stake in K bank from four percent to a maximum limit of 34 percent as it will be allowed to do so when a new law governing internet banks comes into force in January next year. Date and other details were not given.

The current law, aimed at preventing conglomerates from dominating banks, limits the industrial ownership of banks. President Moon Jae-in has promised to allow two internet-only banks, K bank and Kakao Bank, to gain greater access to capital.