KB chairman believes in continual innovation

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KB chairman believes in continual innovation

Yoon Jong-kyoo, KB Financial Group Chairman, said his groups will closely follow the changes coming with the so-called fourth industrial revolution in order to recover its past glory as the No.1 bank in Korea.

“We need to take notice of the changing IT trends represented by mobile financial services and artificial intelligence technologies,” Yoon said at an event celebrating the bank’s 15th anniversary. “We have to be prepared for the next 10 years.”

Yoon, who is also KB Kookmin Bank’s President, said the convergence of new technologies with conventional financial services comes at a time when the Korean financial industry is faced with other changes, including the rapid implementation of fintech and internet-exclusive banks that are expected to be in full service next year.

The local banking industry has been trying to diversify its business portfolios as the traditional business model is believed to have reached its limits, especially with interest rates remaining so low for so long. The market is betting that the Korean central bank will not normalize its loose monetary policy in the immediate future, especially as think tanks have been lowering their outlooks for Korea’s economic growth for next year.

“We need to make efforts in IT development so that we will not fall behind a world that is centered on ICT,” Yoon said. “Already many global financial companies describe themselves as IT companies and even elementary students are learning [computer] coding and programming.”

Yoon warned that in the near future offline bank branches will be downsized. He said the bank needs to be prepared to provide services that differentiate themselves with artificial intelligence and automation, citing the rise of chatbots and robo-advisors.

Yoon also stressed the need for changes in marketing. Instead of waiting for customers to walk through the door, which has been the practice of banks in the past, he said banks have to reach out to potential customers.

“More than 90 percent of the simple services like checking a balance on a bank account are handled through mobile and internet [banking]. Even asset management services that don’t involve bankers are growing,” Yoon said.


BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]

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