Star start-up Uberple focus of fintech meetingUberple, a start-up founded in 2013, is one of the promising fintech businesses that has attracted since the government began promoting the new area as a key to innovation in the financial industry.
“I believe fintech is simple,” said Kim Jae-yoon, CEO of Uberple, at a meeting with officials of the Financial Services Commission (FSC), including new Chairman Yim Jong-yong, and major securities firms Tuesday at the Maru 180, a start-up accelerator in Yeoksam-dong, southern Seoul. “The basic purpose of the business is to expand financial services to the general public with the help of information technology.”
Kim was invited by the FSC to discuss measures to promote the fintech business on a government level as a new growth engine for the Korean financial industry. Uberple provides an online platform where people can receive advisory services on managing their assets, even though the amount of assets is so small they would be shunned by professional asset managers.
“Many ordinary people who don’t have huge fortunes have difficulty getting financial advice services, because professional asset managers demand high commissions,” said Kim. “They also are distant from information that can protect them from financial fraud and sale malpractices.”
Uberple provides an online financial advice service for such people based on big data from the Korea Securities Depository, a state-run organization that manages financial information related to securities transactions. The company is currently working with Daishin Securities and Dongbu Securities to offer its platform to customers of the nation’s leading securities firms.
Yim, who earlier pledged to promote the fintech business by removing unnecessary government regulations, told the meeting his goal is to help create fintech companies like Uberple.
“Financial institutions are still ignorant of what kind of IT technology they need, while fintech companies don’t know how their technology can contribute to improving financial services,” said Yim. “At the same time, the government doesn’t yet know what regulations need to be removed.”
It was the new financial chief’s first meeting with fintech industry people since he took office last week. He has shown strong determination to boost the fintech business, saying it is what consumers want.
“By letting them meet, the two sides need to discuss and identify their needs for a win-win situation,” said Yim. The FSC will open a fintech support center in order to offer sufficient government assistance, he said.
Fintech has become a household word in the Korean financial world as the government emphasizes the importance of convergence between IT and finance. From state-run banks to private commercial banks, many financial institutions are swiftly moving to follow the new government initiative.
The Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK) said it is one step closer to running a branchless, Internet-based bank in line with the fintech initiative. The bank has launched IBK ONE Bank, a smartphone application, which offers a wider range of services via the so-called omni channel. In addition to allowing transfers, the app integrates offline bank branches, Internet banking and customer service. As a result, the bank can offer clients the ability to set up accounts, opt into other banking services or receive a consultation without having to meet a banker face-to-face.
In recognition of the recent fintech trend, KB Kookmin Bank, the largest bank in terms of branches, recently established a fintech department to oversee loans for companies investing in fintech, help improve R&D capabilities and provide a platform for data processing systems.
KB Financial Group also plans to create the KB Fintech Hub Center, which will help fintech start-ups seeking to partner with KB.
BY SONG SU-HYUN [firstname.lastname@example.org]