KEB Hana Bank’s newly appointed CEO Ji Sung-kyoo on Thursday pledged to step up efforts to transform the South Korean commercial bank into a data-driven company backed by digitalisation, while ramping up its global business push to widen its sources of income beyond the domestic market.

“To become a trusted global bank, we want to go forward embracing digitalisation as our left wing and globalisation as our right wing,” Ji said in his inaugural press conference held at KEB Hana Bank’s headquarters in Seoul.

“Our goal is not to adopt a ‘digital touch’ while retaining our traditional banking business, but to transform ourselves from a commercial bank to a data company from the core. We believe this is a path that separates our ‘digitalisation’ strategy from that of other banks or companies.”

The digital shift has already begun, according to Ji. KEB Hana Bank has set out to build a specialised workforce with expertise in digital technologies, including artificial intelligence, big data and blockchain.

As for business, KEB Hana Bank is launching the blockchain-powered “Global Loyalty Network” system in Taiwan starting next month, which lets its customers use digital cash in multiple countries via third-party partnerships.

Hana expects this type of cross-border system will bring great benefit to its customers at home and abroad.

Stressing the importance of technology convergence, Ji also pledged to forge more partnerships with competitive non-banking entities similar to the one it possesses with mobile messaging firm Line.

The two have partnered to establish Line Bank, a digital bank, in Indonesia, marking a Korean bank’s first foray into the retail banking business in an overseas location.

Global expansion is another pressing task for Ji, who stressed the need to look beyond Korea for new growth.

The new chief pledged to continue nurturing the bank’s established business operations in China and Indonesia while paving new growth in Southeast Asia.

Target countries includes Asean member states, including Vietnam, the Philippines and Cambodia, as well as India. THE KOREA HERALD/ANN