Kwon Seon-joo, chairwoman and CEO of Industrial Bank of Korea, stressed that IBK will remain dedicated to promotion of technology-intensive small and medium-sized enterprises. She revealed that the Bank aims to grow into one of the world’s 100 top banks by 2016 when her tenure is set to expire.
As part of the effort to promote “creative financing,” CEO Kwon said the Bank will provide 16.4 trillion won in low-interest loans to SMEs that are technologically advanced in new industrial areas. The sum is part of a total of 40 trillion won that IBK has set aside for support of SMEs this year.
On December 30, 2013, Kwon was promoted from IBK’s risk management director to president to become the first-ever female CEO in Korea’s banking industry. Kwon, 57, joined IBK in 1978, shortly after graduating from Seoul’s Yonsei University with a bachelor’s degree in English literature.
Since then, she has held a variety of positions in several departments such as foreign currencies, risk management, customer satisfaction, private banking and credit cards. In 1998, she was named general manager of Bangi-dong branch in southeastern Seoul. Based on her outstanding performance, Kwon was appointed to the position of senior executive vice president of IBK in 2011.
In an interview with The Korea Post, CEO Kwon defined “creative financing” as provision of financial support to financially weak but technologically advanced firms. “We are ready to promote these firms through loans, investment and free financial consulting,” she stressed.
Technological evaluations will become mandatory for provisions of large amounts of loans. Annually, she said the Bank is expected to conduct technological evaluations on roughly 700 loans.
Furthermore, IBK will increase the supply of credits to firms through intellectual properties partnerships. Until the end of 2013, IBK has invested 52.4 billion won through IP investment partnerships, with additional 79 billion won on the pipeline. “We will continue to expand the scope of targeted firms,” she said.
As for the Bank’s outlook on the future, CEO Kwon said that IBK could grow into the world’s top 100 banks soon. As of the end of 2012, the Bank was ranked 105th globally in terms of total assets. “If we register an annual average growth of 5%, I think we could become one of the world’s top 100 banks by 2016 in terms of total assets,” she disclosed.
She predicted that IBK’s market share in the field of SMEs will likely expand, accounting for over 23%, up from 22.6%. Overall, one of three SMEs in Korea will have business ties with IBK, she said.
Having set “HOPE” as its new slogan, CEO Kwon said IBK will build momentum for sound growth, facilitate communications with the employees and explore new spheres of creative financing.
IBK also will expand its overseas presence. Plans calls for opening representative offices in India, Indonesia and Cambodia in 2014. “We have a relatively upbeat outlook on the future,” she concluded.