Banks Downsize Staff, Branches by Greatest Number Since 2000 | Be Korea-savvy

Banks Downsize Staff, Branches by Greatest Number Since 2000

(image: Yonhap)

(image: Yonhap)

SEOUL, Apr. 1 (Korea Bizwire)Local banks reduced their workforces and branch offices last year by the greatest number since 2000, with digitalization-driven downsizing accelerating, data from the financial regulator showed Sunday.

The number of employees in the banking sector at the end of last year totaled 111,173, down 3,602 from the previous year, according to the data from the Financial Statistics Information System operated by the regulator Financial Supervisory Service. The level of downsizing is the biggest since 5,202 back in 2000.

In comparison, the decrease in employees was 1,890 in 2015 and 2,248 in 2016.

Industry officials say the workforce contraction is heavily due to intensive restructuring at the five leading commercial banks. KB Kookmin Bank, Shinhan Bank, Woori Bank, KEB Hana Bank and Nonghyup together let go of 4,841 employees, the data showed.

KB Kookmin, for instance, reduced its workforce by 2,592 people last year, the biggest number among all banks, with 2,795 leaving through voluntary retirement in January.

The number of branches decreased at an even greater scale. The banks had 6,790 branch offices at end-2017, down 312 from the previous year. It was the biggest decrease since record keeping began in 1999.

Citibank, which had 133 branches, reduced them to 44. Hana closed 87 branches, while KB Kookmin shuttered 71.

Customer preference for mobile and Internet banking will push these trends further, industry officials say, reducing the demand for manpower and physical spaces.

Data from the Bank of Korea said Internet banking transactions accounted for 83.9 percent in the fourth quarter last year, compared with 10.1 percent in over-the-counter transactions.


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