Group sets up Internet bank office

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Group sets up Internet bank office

A consortium led by telecommunications company KT took a further step on Monday to prepare for the launch of its Internet bank by opening the unit’s office.

Some 60 workers from participating companies, including Woori Bank and Hanwha Life Insurance, reported for their first day at the office in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul.

The employees made an entry to the office filled with fun, carrying a lightsaber or striking a pose with Thor’s hammer. The idea was to create a fun yet innovative atmosphere much like the ones found at start-ups.

The opening came after KT finished the registration process to set up a new entity for the Internet bank K-Bank in January. The group won preliminary approval for the business last November.

The KT-led team is one of two winning consortia to start web-based banking services for the first time in Korea, along with a group led by the country’s largest messenger operator, Kakao. The telecommunication company said the new office, measuring 2,100 square meters (22,600 square feet), will have a different look from typical finance companies.

The Gwanghwamun venue will have facilities often found at up-and-coming tech start-ups - such as a free idea room and whiteboards for staff to discuss and display issues.

The office is also equipped with a testing room with a range of smart devices that allows the online banking system to be demonstrated.

While the office is operational, the two consortia are still waiting for final permission to run their new platforms.

“We believe final approval will be given within this year,” a KT representative said. “What we are going to do is lay the groundwork for the new service so that we can open the service as soon as we get permission.”

Ahn Hyo-jo, head of the consortium, vowed to experiment with new offerings. “We hope the Internet bank will lead innovation in the banking industry with its new services such as digital interests.”

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