By Kim Tae-sung and Park Yoon-ye
Increasing use of online and mobile banking has reduced brick-and-mortar outlets at Korea’s four major banks by nearly 500 and staff of more than 7,000 over the last five years, a survey by Maeil Business Newspaper showed.
Four bank majors Shinhan, KB Kookim, KEB Hana and Woori currently run 3,667 outlets, down 472 from five years ago. This compares with U.S. based Citibank that has 133 outlets in Korea.
The four banks shut down 169 outlets last year after closing 113 in 2014 and 21 in 2013 in line with their enhancement in mobile and online services.
Hana shut down the largest number of 144 as its merger with Korea Exchange Bank (KEB) in 2015 led to rationalization in organization. In total, the four major banks scaled down by 10 to 14 percent from 2012.
Payrolls were also reduced. The four banks shed 7,556 employees over the last five years. KB Kookmin Bank, the country’s leading lender, lost 3,893 employees with 2,795 leaving through early retirement program last year. The number of workers in the bank stood at 17,800 last year compared with 21,693 as of the end of 2012. Hana Bank shed 3,557 employees over the same period, losing one fifth of its total workforce from 2012.