South Korean commercial banks shuttered more than 300 outposts last year mostly in big cities with faster migration to online and mobile banking.
According to the Korea Federation of Banks and the Financial Supervisory Service, major commercial bank outposts were reduced by a record net 304 to 6,405. Of 304 closures, 82.6 percent, or 251 locations were in the capital area and metropolitan cities with stagnant economy.
Incheon Metropolitan City saw the highest loss of 8.8 percent from 317 to 289 branches, followed by Daejeon with an 8.5 percent drop from 176 to 161, and Busan with a 7.2 percent decline from 566 to 524. The gross regional domestic product (GRDP) per capita in all three cities was significantly lower than the nationwide average.
Urban areas, including Seoul, also lost sizeable number as more citizens there choose fintech over bank visits.
Rural provinces with higher proportions of older people such as Gangwon, North Jeolla and South Chungcheong saw less than 2 percent decrease in branch numbers.
KB Kookmin Bank made the biggest cut in branches by shuttering 79 locations.
By Yoon Won-sup, Kim Yoo-sin and Lee Soo-min
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]