Naver says it’s not interested in opening an internet bank

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Naver says it’s not interested in opening an internet bank

Naver said Monday that it has no plans to launch an internet-only bank, shutting down rumors that the IT giant might open the country’s third such bank after K bank and Kakao Bank.

“Although we have reviewed [joining] the internet-only bank business, we decided against it and will not attend the information session regarding internet-only bank licenses on Wednesday,” said a Naver spokesperson.

“This is the decision we made after giving a lot of thought into whether Naver can be competitive when the domestic internet-banking environment is already so well established and existing internet-only banks K Bank and Kakao Bank are doing well.”

The announcement comes as a surprise to the industry as Naver has been hailed as one of the likeliest candidates to qualify for a banking permit. Last month, financial authorities announced that they would grant internet-only bank licenses to up to two companies this May in an effort to boost competition in the banking industry. Today’s information session, organized by the Financial Supervisory Service and Financial Services Commission, comes as part of the government’s effort to facilitate the application process.

Despite government initiatives, however, no major company has yet to directly express an intention to apply for a bank license.

Game developer NHN Entertainment and booking and shopping platform Interpark - which led a failed effort to apply for a permit in 2015 - have also said they don’t plan on pursuing internet-only banks.

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