Top Banks in South Korea

Guide to South Korea's leading financial institutions

Overview of Banks in South Korea

Overall, there are 150 licensed banks in South Korea, consisting of 59 commercial banks, 12 specialized banks, and 79 mutual savings banks. Banks in South Korea are regulated by the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), which is responsible for examining and supervising financial institutions under the broad oversight of the Financial Services Commission (FSC). The Bank of Korea is the country’s central bank, which is responsible for issuing the Korean won and maintaining price stability.

 

Banks in South Korea

 

According to Moody’s, the outlook for the Korean banking system is stable, Korea’s Aa2 sovereign rating with a stable outlook reflects the very strong fundamentals that have underpinned its resilient recovery from the pandemic shock. Still, rising government debt, ongoing pressures from an aging population, and the risk of military confrontation with North Korea will continue to pose challenges.

For anyone considering a career in banking in South Korea, this list of the top banks in South Korea is a helpful guide on where to start. To learn more, see our lists of financial institutions.

 

The Top Banks in South Korea are:

 

Shinhan Financial Group

Established in 1897, Shinhan Financial Group was the first of the banks in South Korea, founded under the name Hanseong Bank. The bank operates through its Retail Banking, Corporate Banking, International Banking, and Other Banking segments.

Headquartered in Seoul, the group manages 723 branches and 29 private wealth management service centers in South Korea, as well as 14 branches in other countries. It employs around 13,000 staff.

Net income: KRW 2.08 trillion (2020)

Total assets: KRW 427.7 trillion (2020)

 

NongHyup Financial Group

Founded in 1961, NongHyup Financial Group was created from the merger of Agricultural Bank and Agricultural Federation. The group provides financing, mortgages, personal lines of credit, corporate finance, real estate finance, and new technology finance services. It also offers life, property, and casualty insurance products.

Headquartered in Seoul, the bank employs around 13,400 staff and operates through 1,135 branches, as well as through 4,786 branches operated by member cooperatives.

Net income: KRW 2.64 trillion (2020)

Total assets: KRW 460.3 trillion (2020)

 

KB Financial Group

Headquartered in Seoul, KB Financial Group is a financial holding company that offers financial services through its subsidiaries. The group operates through various business segments: Retail Banking Operations, Corporate Banking Operations, Other Banking Operations, Credit Card Operations, Investment and Securities Operations, and Life Insurance Operations.

Net income: KRW 3.46 trillion (2020)

Total assets: KRW 60.48 trillion (3/2021)

 

Hana Financial Group

Hana Financial Group was created in 1971 and is headquartered in Seoul. The bank offers mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, fundraising, risk management advisory, and securities trading and underwriting services.

Formerly known as Hana Daetoo Securities Co. Ltd., the bank changed its name to Hana Financial Investment Co. Ltd. in September 2015. It employs around 12,800 staff.

Net income: KRW 2.64 trillion (2020)

Total assets: KRW 460.3 trillion (2020)

 

Korea Development Bank

Founded in 1954, Korea Development Bank is headquartered in Seoul. The bank provides deposit products, corporate banking products, investment banking products, and international banking products.

As the 61st biggest global bank (The Banker Top 1000 World Bank List in 2018), KDB Bank’s not only fostered the growth of strategic industries but also facilitates the turnaround of troubled companies through restructuring and provides capital for strategic development projects.

Net income: USD 0.6 billion (2018)

Total assets: USD 233.9 billion (2018)

 

Woori Financial Group

Woori Financial Group offers commercial banking products and services to individual customers, small and medium-sized enterprises, and major corporations in South Korea. It operates through six segments: Consumer Banking, Corporate Banking, Capital Markets, Investment Banking, Credit Card, and Other Operations.

Woori Bank, a subsidiary of Woori Financial Group, is headquartered in Seoul. It employs 16,000 staff and manages 989 branches in South Korea and 22 branches internationally.

Net income: KRW 1.51 trillion (2019)

Total assets: KRW 348.2 trillion (2019)

 

Industrial Bank of Korea

Industrial Bank of Korea was founded in 1961 and is headquartered in Seoul. The bank operates through Retail Banking, Corporate Banking, Money Market, IB, Credit Card Operations, Foreign Exchange, and Others segments.

It manages approximately 570 branches and 47 depositary offices in South Korea, and 57 overseas offices and employs about 14,000 individuals.

Net income: KRW 1.54 trillion (2020)

Total assets: KRW 361.6 trillion (2020)

 

BNK Financial Group

Headquartered in Busan, BNK Financial Group is one of the top five financial groups in South Korea. Founded in 1967, the group, together with its subsidiaries, operates through Bank, Financial Investment, Specialized Credit Finance, and Mutual Savings Bank segments.

BNK offers services that include internet banking, financial products, asset management services, apartment application deposit, fund products, and variable annuities. It was formerly known as BS Financial Group Inc. and changed its name to BNK Financial Group Inc. in April 2015.

Net income: KRW 519.32 billion (2020)

Total assets: KRW 114.16 trillion (2020)

 

DGB Financial Group

Established in 2011, DGB Financial Group is one of the largest regional banks in South Korea, mostly serving customers in the Daegu-Gyeongbuk region. It provides deposits, new technology business loans, personal loans, and other loans.

The bank also offers automobile financing and facility lease services, foreign exchange, fund and bancassurance, asset management, issue, charge, electronic money, and Internet banking services.

Net income: KRW 332.32 billion (2020)

Total assets: KRW 79.97 trillion (2020)

 

Kakao Bank

Founded in 2016, Kakao Bank is a subsidiary of Korea Investment Holdings Ltd. It is the first internet bank in South Korea. The bank provides every type of banking service, from lending and savings to overseas remittance and credit cards. The digital-only bank signed 2.9 million users during its first month of operation, including a record 187,000 customers on its opening day.

 

Careers in Investment Banking

To break into investment banking, there are several important things to focus on. These include networking, resume, experience, and financial modeling skills. To learn more, explore our interactive career map:

investment banking careers

For banking careers, you will have a significant edge over the competition with our financial modeling courses.

 

Additional Resources

This has been CFI’s guide to the top banks in South Korea. For anyone looking for a career in banking, this list is a great place to start your networking. Please also see these additional resources:

  • Top 10 Banks in Hong Kong
  • Top 10 Banks in Singapore
  • Investment Banking Interview Questions
  • Financial Modeling Guide

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