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South Korea’s Woori Bank merges Cambodian units

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South Korea’s Woori Bank merged its two subsidiaries in Cambodia – WB Finance Co Ltd and Woori Finance (Cambodia) Plc. YONHAP NEWS AGENCY

South Korea’s Woori Bank merges Cambodian units

South Korea’s leading Woori Bank on Sunday announced that it has officially merged its two subsidiaries in Cambodia – WB Finance Co Ltd and Woori Finance (Cambodia) Plc.

The new company – dubbed “WB Finance” – is part of Woori Bank’s plans for business expansion in the Kingdom’s crowded financial sector, it said in a statement.

The merge comes after the two institutions received approval from the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) and the Ministry of Commerce.

The new institution is currently the Kingdom’s fifth largest savings bank, which “in the mid- to long-term, we plan to make into a commercial bank offering comprehensive financial services in Cambodia”, an Woori Bank official told Korea Times.

WB Finance will integrate several financial products and services including savings, loans, mobile banking and money transfers, it said in the statement. Customers’ accounts at Woori Finance have been transferred to WB Finance under the same terms and conditions.

WB Finance CEO Kim Sun-kyu said the merger gives staff and management a very positive outlook of the growing financial institution which aims to enhance its customer services and embrace convenient digital and innovative financial solutions to fit with the modern lifestyles of its customers.

“The successful merger would not have been possible without the utmost support from our committed management and staff at both institutions, our shareholders, the team at Woori Bank’s headquarters, backed by the strong support of the National Bank of Cambodia, the Ministry of Commerce, the relevant authorities, customers, partners and stakeholders.

“In the future, we will become a financial institution that grows with the Cambodian people – providing financial support, launching new products such as government employee loans, and regularly holding social contribution events,” Kim said.

WB Finance chief operating officer Top Sok Samphea said the merger is another significant milestone of WB Finance Co Ltd, which was formed after Woori Bank acquired VisionFund (Cambodia) Ltd in June 2018.

“We have undertaken a very inclusive merging process which took a lot of effort in order to ensure smooth transactions while maintaining the best possible financial services for the customers of both of our institutions,” she said.

Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX) market strategist and chief operating officer Ha Jong-weon told The Post on Monday that strong, sustainable growth in the banking industry is the main factor attracting South Koreans to invest in the Kingdom.

The merger is another example proving Korean investors’ trust in the sector, he said.

“Woori Bank has made a lot of profit since its initial entry into Cambodia in 2014. They have continued to expand their operations here.

“I wish to see more Korean investors investing not only in the banking sector but also in other potential areas such as agriculture and technology as the Royal Government of Cambodia is putting more effort into promoting and supporting these sectors for the long-term growth of the Cambodian economy,” Ha said.

In July 2014, Woori Bank purchased local microfinance institution (MFI) Malis Finance Plc for $4.9 million and renamed it Woori Finance (Cambodia) Plc.

The NBC said as of the second quarter of last year, there were 45 commercial banks in Cambodia, 15 specialised banks, and 81 MFIs, of which seven are microfinance deposit-taking institutions.

It said there were also 254 rural credit operators, 15 leasing companies and 16 payment service providers.

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