[Photo provided by KEB Hana Bank]
South Korea’s KEB Hana Bank said Monday it opened a local entity in Mexico, its latest foreign outpost in Latin America, as part of efforts to step up its global campaign.
“Our Mexican entity would offer professional financial services to bolster economic cooperation between the two countries and further development in the financial sector,” said Ji Sung-kyoo, chief executive of KEB Hana Bank, at the opening ceremony on Friday.
The event was attended by Kim Sang-il, South Korea’s ambassador to Mexico; Adalberto Palma Gomez, president of Mexico’s Comision Nacional Bancaria y de Valores; Juan Pablo Graf Noriega, head of banking, securities and savings at the Mexican Ministry of Finance; and Jesus Alan Elizondo Flores, general director of financial system affairs at the Bank of Mexico.
Mexico is a strategically important market to Korean companies because the country serves as a gateway to North America thanks to its free trade agreement with Canada and the United States. It houses the manufacturing bases of many Korean companies, especially in the auto, steel and electronics sectors.
KEB Hana Bank said its Mexican entity would cater to both Korean companies and Mexican businesses by offering localized services. It also intends to broaden its global outreach by tapping not only the rapidly emerging markets of Southeast Asia, a region facing heavy competition from other local lenders, but targeting new markets in Latin America. It has recently started operations in Panama and Brazil.
KEB Hana Bank has 180 foreign outposts across 24 countries. This year, it plans to upgrade its liaison office in Fukuoka, Japan to a legal entity, set up an outpost in Gurugram, India, and expand operations in Myanmar. It is also mulling entry into Taiwan and Morocco as part of its ambitious global campaign to broaden its market presence to six continents in the next three years.
The bank’s global business unit reported a record net profit last year of 285.5 billion won ($241.1 million), up 19.5 percent from the previous year. Its core profit, a combination of interest income and commission earnings, jumped 9.2 percent on year to 6.14 trillion won, the highest since the 2015 merger of Korea Exchange Bank and Hana Bank that resulted in the present-day KEB Hana.
By Kim Dong-eun and Kim Hyo-jin
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