More European banks are pulling out of South Korea after suffering losses from the local-predominant market.
On Wednesday, Korea’s Financial Services Commission granted U.K.-based Goldman Sachs, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Spain’s Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) to shutter their Korean operations. Goldman Sachs, RBS and BBVA have been operating in Korea since 2006, 2013 and 2011, respectively. Their retreat will reduce the number of foreign banks operating in Korea from 43 banks from 17 countries to 40 banks from 16 countries.
Switzerland’s UBS and U.K.’s Barclays are also expected to leave Korea by this year. The two banks announced their pullout plans last year and would file a withdrawal request by year end.
A series of departures of foreign banks from the Korean banking industry comes at a time when global banks have been cutting the number of their foreign operations amid a worsening business climate worldwide.
Following BBVA’s departure, none of the Spain-based banks will have presence in Korea. BBVA, while ceasing operations of its Korean branches, intends to keep a liaison office in the country to keep tabs on the Korean market. Goldman Sachs has shut down only its banking branches to save costs. It will continue local operations through its securities branches, according to multiple sources.
By Park Yoon-ye
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