South Korea’s online-only bank Kakao Bank posted its first net profit in the first quarter ended March this year since its foundation in July 2017.
Korea Investment Holdings Co., Kakao Bank’s largest shareholder, announced on Tuesday that its net balance turned into profit of 6.56 billion won ($5.51 million) during the January to March period, after making 5.5 billion won in loss in the same period last year.
The digital-only bank has been growing explosively since its launch in July 2017. It had started with 114,000 customers, 415.3 billion won in deposited balance and 362.7 billion won in loan balance. The figures expanded 78 times, 36 times and 27 times, respectively, to reach 8.91 million clients, 14.9 trillion won in deposited balance and 9.67 trillion won in loan balance as of the first quarter this year.
Against the previous quarter, the number of clients rose by 15.9 percent, deposited balance 37.8 percent and loan balance 6.4 percent.
As of the end of April, the number of account holders of Kakao Bank stood at 9.3 million, on course to exceed 10 million in the second quarter. Its deposit and loan balance also grew over the last month to 16 trillion won and 10 trillion won, respectively.
The stellar performance was owed to its differentiated marketing strategies and service convenience, according to market experts. The increasing number of customers has led to the exponential growth of interest income.
Its net figure turned into black with the loan balance surpassing 9 trillion won at the end of last year, an official from Kakao bank said. “Non-interest income would also grow rapidly as we will launch a new service to allow customers to open equity accounts in the second quarter,” he added.
By Chung Joo-won and Choi Mira
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