SEOUL, Nov. 25 (Korea Bizwire) — Along with the growth of non-face-to-face financial transactions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, bank branches are disappearing at a rapid pace in South Korea.
Against this backdrop, there is concern that this development could make banking significantly more inconvenient for elderly people, many of whom are not familiar with digital finance.
The number of domestic bank branches is forecast to decline to 6,183 at the end of this year, down 15.1 percent from 7,281 in 2015, according to a report released on Monday by the National Assembly Research Service.
The number of automated teller machines (ATMs) is also declining rapidly.
According to data released by the Financial Supervisory Service, there were 32,498 bank ATMs in South Korea as of August, down 10.7 percent or 3,883 units from the figure marked in late 2019.
The problem is that this situation could make it difficult for the elderly people to access financial services.
According to a 2020 survey on internet usage conducted by the Ministry of Science and ICT, the internet banking usage rate of those in their 60s stood at 50.5 percent last year, up 23.6 percentage points from a year earlier.
This figure, however, indicates that about half of those in their 60s still prefer to see a teller or use an ATM.
Individuals over the age of 70 were twice as likely as members of the general population to see a teller to make a cash withdrawal, according to a 2019 study conducted by the Bank of Korea.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)