Favoritism prevailsAllegations of favoritism that led to the head of Woori Bank being kicked out of office spread to other major commercial lenders KEB Hana Bank and KB Kookmin Bank. The Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) found 55 children of VIP figures working at Hana Bank and 20 at Kookmin Bank. The list included a granddaughter of a former bank CEO and other children of former and current senior executives. Suspecting favoritism, the FSS asked the prosecution to probe further to see if any rules had been broken in the hiring process.
The two banks defended their hiring practices. They admitted that a list of the children of executives existed, but claimed they were hired within the company’s own guidelines and customs. But through the findings of an inspection conducted in 2016, the so-called customary hiring at the banks cannot be regarded as normal. Graduates of the three top schools — Seoul National University, Korea University and Yonsei University — were preferred in interviews by executives while graduates from schools of lesser prestige were dropped in the final interview stage without a specific reason. Banks claimed that the hiring was based on individual talents and job characteristics.
Although private enterprises are free to choose recruits based on their own set of guidelines, hiring must not discriminate based on backgrounds. Youth unemployment hit a historic high of 9.9 percent last year. Young people’s sense of helplessness will only be made worse if they learn that they lost out to a peer with a better family background or connections. Banks that make money out of consumers have the duty to serve the public with fairness and credibility. They cannot complain of unjust regulations from authorities when their acts of injustice have gone beyond reason. The prosecution must thoroughly investigate unfairness in the recruitment practices of banks.
JoongAng Ilbo, Feb. 5, Page 34