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Industrial Bank of Korea chief stresses ‘innovation’ as key growth driver in 2019

The chief of the state-run Industrial Bank of Korea urged its employees at home and abroad to embrace client-centric innovation as a key mission for 2019 during a companywide event to share the bank’s management strategy and vision for the year, held Friday.

“The year 2019 will determine which banks survive the infinite competition and also determine a new order for the finance sector for the next 10 years,” said IBK Chairman and CEO Kim Do-jin during a companywide event in Chungju, North Chungcheong Province.

IBK Chairman and CEO Kim Do-jin (IBK)
IBK Chairman and CEO Kim Do-jin (IBK)

“Considering this, we need to embrace the idea that innovation is key to survival,” he said. “We have to read changes in our customers, prepare what they want and emerge as a customer-centric organization.”

In pushing this agenda, the state-run lender, which mainly focuses on corporate lending for small and medium-sized companies, has set four key goals for the new year: digital innovation, tailored customer support, risk management and structural change.

To achieve digital innovation, the IBK must strengthen its digital core by joining hands with outside channels. Tailored customers support, brought by strengthening the bank’s role in public financing, is also an important task, the chairman said.

This year, the bank will also focus on strengthening risk management and raising sustainability as well as structural change aimed at work process innovation and organizational change, he added.

Earlier this month, the IBK also initiated an annual executive reshuffle, promoting Kam Sung-han as the bank’s senior executive vice president in charge of the Busan, Ulsan and South Gyeongsang Province regions.

Son Hyun-sang, who previously oversaw the bank’s business in these regions as senior executive vice president, has been renamed as chief of the bank’s risk management division.

Suh Chi-kil, which previously headed IBK’s business across the Jeolla region, was also newly promoted to senior executive vice president. He is also the bank’s acting chief financial officer.

The state-run bank also promoted 15 females to director posts at the bank’s nationwide branches, the largest-ever pool of females to be named directors to date. Moreover, 175 of the bank’s 335 employees who were promoted to leadership roles in the latest reshuffle were women, it said.

The IBK also realigned its information technology business division, focusing on the need to merge its online and offline business channels. It also reorganized its large-sized branches to ensure more optimal services are delivered to customers.

Two internal venture groups were created as well, this year to foster an environment for new business models and innovation, according to the IBK.

By Sohn Ji-young (