South Korea’s Woori Financial Group plans to inject 33 trillion won ($27.8 billion) in startups and small enterprises over the next five years to help drive innovation in the country.
The loan package was announced Monday after the first meeting of the innovative finance committee. Launched last month, the committee is chaired by the group chairman, Sohn Tae-seung, with the chief executives of each unit sitting as committee members. It is operated under four divisions - loan assistance, investment assistance, loan policy improvement and fintech assistance.
The committee is part of Woori Financial Group’s efforts to accelerate digital innovation both within the company and nationwide. In a similar vein, it recently installed two new units to its holding company: the future finance unit, which oversees the group’s innovative finance initiatives, and the digital innovation unit.
Committee members at the Monday meeting monitored the progress of this year’s agenda and pledged stronger groupwide collaboration in support for innovative firms and fintech companies.
The loan assistance division agreed to fund 31.1 trillion won to innovative startups and social companies over the next five years, starting with a 5.5 trillion won loan package this year. As part of its efforts, it would strengthen ties with guarantee institutions and provide customized products and other benefits for the target companies.
The investment assistance division plans to channel 2.1 trillion won into programs aimed to drive innovative growth. Woori Investment Bank and Woori Private Equity Asset Management would lead direct investment in companies, with an innovative growth fund to be run by Woori Group. This would run alongside a state-led innovation fund that would be operated through indirect investment. Next month, Woori Bank aims to raise 100 billion won to form an innovation growth fund, with the assets to be funded by Woori Investment Bank and managed by Woori Private Equity.
The fintech assistance division would work with other digital departments in the group to tailor their support to fintech firms by their growth stage and to create innovative services through industry convergence.
By Lee Seung-hoon and Kim Hyo-jin
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