Hana transforms to tech company

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Hana transforms to tech company


Chairman Kim Jung-tai of Hana Financial Group, seventh from left, and other executives pose during an event announcing the group’s future strategy on Tuesday at its data center in Incheon. [HANA FINANCIAL GROUP]

CHEONGNA, Incheon - Just as Goldman Sachs has declared it is now a tech company, the Hana Financial Group has said it is transforming into a data-driven information company to serve the growing number of tech-savvy clients.

Kim Jung-tai, chairman of the country’s fourth-largest financial group by profit, outlined a more digitally-focused business strategy on Tuesday at a press tour of the group’s data center in Incheon.

He made the announcement dressed in jeans, a rare choice of attire for a company executive.

“There should be no barrier or separation between bank tellers and IT experts,” he said during the press event.

“We will train all employees in how to write code starting this year,” Kim said, adding that he has the ability to lead the transitions because of his work experience at the data processing division of the bank.

The focus on data and information comes as more users conduct financial transactions online.

In an era of information overload, Kim emphasized that the proper filtering of information is vitally important.

“Water covers 70 percent of the surface of the earth, but only 1 percent of it is drinkable,” he said. “So, it is important to process the data into something useful.”

The financial holdings group that controls KEB Hana Bank, Hana Financial Investment and Hana Capital set a goal of increasing the portion of new clients utilizing digital channels to 40 percent from the current 20 percent.

The group reorganized its corporate structure to facilitate the digitalization of financial services. It has formed a data strategy division and a unit to oversee the digital strategies of each division.

The group’s tech research lab will explore the potential application of advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence and big data.

Kim said that cooperation with Line, a Japan-based internet messenger operator owned by Naver, supports the group’s focus on digitalization.

Line, through its subsidiary Line Financial Asia, will acquire a 20 percent stake in KEB Hana’s Indonesia unit and launch digital banking services in the country. The deal will make Line Financial Asia the second-largest shareholder in the Indonesian lender.

The Cheongna Integrated Data Center is a part of Hana’s efforts to efficiently use data throughout the group.

It manages servers and security for all Hana units, including its overseas presences in China, Canada and Indonesia.

Hana Financial said that the data center - with a land of 30,252 square meters (325,629 square feet) - is the largest established by any local financial institution.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]
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