KB Kookmin Bank chief tackles divided staff

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KB Kookmin Bank chief tackles divided staff

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KB Kookmin Bank President Lee Kun-ho speaks at a celebration of the bank’s 13th anniversary at its headquarters in Yeouido, Seoul, yesterday. [NEWSIS]

KB Kookmin Bank President Lee Kun-ho yesterday warned employees about the institution’s deep-rooted culture of cliques.

“Until this day, there seems to be those among us that criticize for the sake of criticizing with a sit-by-and-watch attitude,” Lee said at an event to celebrate KB Kookmin Bank’s 13th year at its headquarters in Yeouido, western Seoul. “What’s more is that there still are some retrogressive customs and practices taking place where [some employees] pursue their own greed while remaining in the consciousness of old channels.”

According to industry insiders, the “old channels” Lee mentioned refers to the unfriendly and cold attitude in the workplace among employees, depending on their clique. One of the cliques, or channels, in this case, is those employees from Kookmin Bank, while the other points to those from Korea Housing Bank.

Twelve years have passed since the two banks merged; however, Lee’s remarks hint that there is still disunity within the financial institution.

“Today should be the turning point and [employees] should say their final goodbye to the old way of thinking,” Lee said.

Lee, 54, was promoted from vice president to president in July as part of an executive reshuffle under Lim Young-rok, the new chairman of KB Financial Group. Lim was earlier named chairman by a special nominating committee of KB Financial Group’s board of directors to succeed Euh Yoon-dae.

Meanwhile, Lee also expressed caution about expanding to overseas markets just because the domestic market is at a saturation point.

“Many people today talk about entering the overseas markets,” Lee said. “But there’s no guarantee of success. It isn’t easy opening a new overseas branch without having detailed plans. This means that [we] will not be hasty [in entering foreign markets].”

BY LEE EUN-JOO [angie@joongang.co.kr]

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