KB’s Liiv On makes house hunting easier

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KB’s Liiv On makes house hunting easier


KB Kookmin Bank announced a new app that provides real estate information and related services to local consumers, a move to further tighten its grip as the leading provider of real-estate-related financial products in Korea.

The banking unit of KB Financial Group, the largest financial holding company in Korea by assets, announced on Tuesday that it will launch a smartphone app titled “Liiv On.” The new app combines KB Kookmin Bank’s real estate information service with its mortgage products.

Yoon Jong-kyoo, the chairman of the group, said during the launch event that the real-estate-related service will help the bank remain the leader of the local financial industry.

“[Through Liiv On] we will create an ecosystem for the local real estate market where potential home buyers can hope while agents, academics and research institutes as well as financial institutions can all benefit,” said Yoon.

Established through a merger between Kookmin Bank and Housing & Commercial Bank in 2001, KB Kookmin Bank has been one of the leading providers of home mortgage loans in Korea. The new platform aims to take advantage of this standing to further advance the bank’s market share. Through the mobile app, the bank will provide real estate information customized for each user and match them with different real-estate-related products that the bank offers, including mortgage loans.

“KB Kookmin Bank has market expertise accumulated through experience and know-how,” said Hur Yin, who was nominated earlier this month as the chief executive of the bank. “Liiv On aims to provide financial services to those interested in actual purchases [as opposed to speculating] as well as those who recently began their career.”

Currently, the mobile real-estate service market is dominated by three existing players.

Zigbang, a property-listing app that connects landlords and tenants, as well as buyers and sellers, currently dominates the market, taking up 59 percent of the entire market share. Naver Real Estate, operated by Korea’s internet portal giant Naver, has a 19.8 percent share while Dabang also has a 17.4 percent share. Together, they make up 96 percent of the entire market.

KB Kookmin Bank hopes to differentiate its service by running a team that detects false listings.

The inspection team is made of 58 specialists from the real-estate finance unit of the bank. Han Dong-Hwan, who serves as the managing director of the future channel group at the bank, said they will utilize some 1,000 branches spread across the country to physically collect information on listings, a business model that would differentiate the app from its competitors

The bank also said it will provide loans to borrowers that are actually in need of buying homes rather than those looking to speculate, a strategy in line with the current Moon Jae-in administration’s real-estate policy direction.

One of the main target groups for the new app is newlywed couples. KB Kookmin’s new service could narrow down the listings for newlyweds, taking into account the locations that they want to live in as well as their budget constraints.

Agents and home buyers or tenants can use the Liiv On service free of charge, another aspect of the platform that differentiates it from its competitors.

Real estate agents can list homes on the app without paying any fees to the service provider. Similarly, potential buyers and tenants can seal the deal without paying any commission to the operator.

“While users and real-estate agents can use the platform for free, KB Kookmin Bank will be able to take in more demand for loans,” said a bank spokesperson.

BY JEONG JIN-WOO [choi.hyungjo@joongang.co.kr]
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