Woori, Hana in hunt for suspended savings banks

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Woori, Hana in hunt for suspended savings banks

Woori Financial Group and Hana Financial Group have expressed interest in snapping up some of the savings banks that were suspended earlier this year, including industry No. 1 Solomon Savings Bank.

Previously, Shinhan Financial Group was considering buying one of the banks but backed out at the last minute. KB Financial Group said it does not plan on making any additional purchases.

State-owned KDB Financial Group submitted their interest in acquiring one of the troubled banks and registered by yesterday’s 5 p.m. deadline.

Woori and Hana, each of which has expressed interest in taking over two savings banks, submitted letters of intent to the Korea Deposit Insurance Corp. before the window closed.

Four savings banks - Solomon, Mirae, Korea and Hanju - were put up for sale. Solomon boasts the largest customer base of 330,000 with assets of 5 trillion won ($4.3 billion).

The Financial Services Commission suspended the banks early last month due to their poor financial health including BIS capital adequacy ratios of less than 1 percent.

Since last year, a total of 20 savings banks have had their operations suspended as the industry undergoes extensive restructuring.

Although savings banks account for only a small portion of the local financial industry, the regulator stressed that the restructuring was essential to make the market sound.

Last year, Woori bought Samhwa Savings Bank while Hana took over Jeil II and Ace Savings Bank.

Shinhan currently has Tomato Savings Bank under its wing, while KB owns Jeil Savings Bank.

By Lee Ho-jeong[ojlee82@joongang.co.kr]

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