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FSS addresses financial problems of socially weak and alienated persons

FINANCE

“Sarangbang Bus Service” marks 1st anniversary

FSS addresses financial problems of
socially weak and alienated persons

Chairman Choi Soo-hyun of the Financial Supervisory Service (sixth from left) and President & CEO Shin Chung-shik of Nonghyup Bank (fourth from right) hold a sign indicating their donation of farming equipment to farmers.
Officials of the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) held a town hall meeting with a group of farmers in the middle of June to address their grievances on financial matters, along with Nonghyup Bank.

The encounter took place at Bongyang-eup, Jecheon City, Chungcheongbuk-do, on June 11, 2013, with FSS Chairman Choi Soo-hyun, Saenuri lawmaker Song Kwang-ho, Nonghyup Bank President &CEO Shin Chung-shik and Jecheon Mayor Choi Myeong-hyeon in attendance.

The FSS hosted the meeting to ease the financial burdens of agricultural and livestock farmers. Since the financial gap between city and local residents have been widening, it said farmers have been fraught with a growing number of problems. “We intended to extend a helping hand to farmers in dealing with their financial woes,” said the FSS.

President and CEO Shin Chung-shik (right, foreground) shakes hands with a farmer on the occasion of donating of farming equipment to the farmers.
FSS Chairman Choi Soo-hyun met with about 30 farmers and offered financial counseling. For example, he offered advice how to reschedule debt with high-interest rates.

Meanwhile, the FSS voluntary workers came up with an education program for the children of rural residents to help enhance their understanding of financial policies and services. Additionally, they provided free medical services to some of the villagers.

Following the informal talks with farmers, FSS Chairman Choi and Nonghyup Bank President &CEO Shin visited a community hall and gave presents including farming tools to villagers. Afterward, they rolled up their sleeves to do some farm work including weeding in paddy fields, along with their staff members.

Nonghyup Bank official explaining the ‘Happy Banking’ at a class.

Happy Buses used in providing medical service for the needy people.

The FSS kicked off its “Sarangbang Bus Service” on June 7 last year to help people in small cities and farming-fishing areas, who have been denied access to financial counseling. Since then, the service has averaged a 3.5 times a week as of the end of May. In that period, the Sarangbang Bus visited a total of 273 places including traditional open-air markets and military units.

FSS officials have been focused on handling the financial woes of underprivileged people. “By directly resolving high-interest loan problems of farmers, we have contributed to enhancing their satisfaction,” said the FSS in a news release. “For example, we enabled some merchants with usurious loans to repay their debt with low interest loans from the Credit Counseling & Recovery Service,” it said. “We thus helped to relieve their interest burden significantly.”

In a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the Sarangbang Bus Service, FSS Chairman Choi promised to step up its financial counseling to farmers and other underprivileged people. Nonghyup Bank presented a report on its wide-ranging social contribution activities in the ceremony.

Head Office of the Nonghyup Bank in Seoul

In a bid to help narrow the financial gap between cities and rural areas, FSS Chairman Choi said the FSS will actively provide its free counseling even on public holidays and on the nights of weekends. “Our service will target people in alienated areas and socially weak persons who have a strong sense of self-help,” said FSS Chairman Choi.

In addition to financial counseling, the FSS is ready to expand free medical services and voluntary works for rural residents. “We are prepared to take better care of the socially weak and alienated. The FSS will also continue its efforts to help common people gain greater access to financial institutions,” he added. k

이경식 기자  edt@koreapost.com

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