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Financial industry welcomes latest technology

Jan 03,2018
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The New Year’s messages from CEOs in the financial industry had a universal theme: facing technology challenges in 2018.

The top executives of leading Korean financial companies all raised the need to embrace the latest technology, especially after the better-than-expected popularity of Kakao Bank.

This is a step beyond previous years when the bank chiefs mainly focused on improving mobile banking services.

Hana Financial Chairman Kim Jung-tai stressed that the financial industry today is faced with unlimited competition that exceeds conventional sales methods thanks to the introduction of fintech and online banks.

“Conventional financial institutions have to move into platform businesses through cooperation and competition with fintech companies equipped with fourth industrial revolution technologies,” said Kim. “Here, the most important thing is a participatory platform.”

Kim cited Amazon’s artificial intelligence speaker Echo as an example.

“It is said [Amazon] has been leading the artificial intelligence ecosystem by creating a synergy effect by installing applications that its partners have developed through the free open development source, Alexa Skills Kit,” Kim said. “Amazon Echo has been providing services by connecting roughly 20,000 apps including Starbucks, Uber and Domino’s Pizza, which is the results of open-source and aggressive partnerships.”

Kim said that in the future many consumers will communicate through such platforms.

“Financial companies can only succeed when it becomes a participatory platform based on humanity,” Kim said.

KB Financial Group Chairman Yoon Jong-kyoo also struck a similar note, emphasizing further advancing the group’s high-tech businesses.

“On digital finance, we need to work on internalizing new technologies while establishing a financial ecosystem with KB in the center through cooperation with fintech start-ups.” Yoon said.

“Also, we will strengthen our data analysis organization to provide better services for each and every customer. We will be providing accurate and appropriate products and services that meet our customers’ needs.”

The New Year’s message from the KB Financial Group chairman comes as the banking group celebrates the 10th anniversary of it converting into a holding company.

Shinhan Bank President Wi Sung-ho also stressed the need for fourth industrial revolution technology.

“Amid the fourth industrial revolution, the speed of changes taking place is unprecedented,” Wi said. “If we are stuck with our own field and watch the changes from afar, we won’t be able to catch up to the changes that are taking place.”

Wi said this would be the year that the bank’s digital transformation takes place.

Woori Bank’s new chief Sohn Tae-seung also stressed building a digital strategy by creating a platform that withstands competition.


BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]