Woori rewards employee who noticed loan scam

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Woori rewards employee who noticed loan scam

Woori Bank on Monday recognized the contribution made by a contract worker in 2012 in preventing the company from incurring huge financial losses and saving its reputation in the loan scam perpetrated by the famous start-up Moneual.

The bank said that Kang Yoon-heum was hired as a regular worker, the first time that has happened at the bank. He helped prevent the financial institution from becoming the victim of loan fraud by noticing the inconsistencies in Moneual’s sales documents. The 42 year-old, who was an analyst at NH Securities for 13 years, was also promoted and received financial compensation for his effort.

Moneual made headlines last year after its founder and CEO Park Hong-seok and two other executives were arrested for fraudulently obtaining 3.2 trillion won worth of loans from financial companies including state-run Industrial Bank of Korea in a scam between 2009 and July 2014.

The only two major banks that did not get caught up in the fraud were Woori and Shinhan.

In 2012, Woori Bank had already given 85 billion won worth of loans to the company that was once even praised by Bill Gates and was considered a leading start-up. At that time, Moneual had requested an additional loan, and Kang was assigned to review the company.

But while researching the company, Kang found several irregularities. Using his skills as a former analyst, he expanded his investigation. He became suspicious that a company whose sales figures had surged at an exceptional rate particularly overseas did not have products that available on any online shopping malls including eBay, Best Buy or Walmart.

That year, Moneual had reported that its revenue was at 200 billion won and it had also won several awards. But its flagship products, including a robot vacuum cleaner, were nowhere to be found.

Kang even called up the company and asked for documents that would prove the sales numbers that they claimed on documents they submitted for the loan. Kang even had a meeting with CEO Park.

Despite protest by the bank’s sales team, in accordance with the contract worker’s decision that Moneual’s financial records were not trustworthy, Woori in 2013 decided to recover all 85 billion won of the loan it had issued.

Kang said he has been employed as an irregular worker for all 16 years of his career.

He even worked on a contracted basis in his job as an analyst. But he decided to leave the high paying brokerage industry and move into banking after he became fed up with being required to make analyses that would please high paying clients. He said he is pleased with the job stability he now has as a regular worker and that he aims to continue his work with integrity until retirement.

BY SHIM SAE-ROM, LEE HO-JEONG [ojlee82@joongang.co.kr]
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