SEOUL, Nov. 28 (Korea Bizwire) — The ratio of South Korean savings banks’ loans extended to households hit a record amid shrinking corporate investment, data showed Sunday.
Their outstanding loans totaled 41.1 trillion won (US$34.9 billion) as of end-September, up 15.77 percent from the end of last year, according to the Bank of Korea’s economic statistics system.
Corporate loans rose 9.84 percent to 23.4 trillion won, while household loans jumped 25.55 percent to 17.1 trillion won.
The proportion of household loans to the total reached 41.73 percent, far higher than 11.01 percent posted in the second quarter of 2010. It marks the highest level since the central bank began compiling related data.
Traditionally, local savings banks focused on lending to tiny business owners and small and medium-sized enterprises.
However, firms here have tightened their belts amid a protracted economic slowdown. Households, on the other hand, have borrowed more money due to financial difficulties.
A problem is that many of those individual customers for savings banks are low-income earners.
The number of those with less than 30 million won of annual income accounted for 3.6 percent of borrowers from non-bank financial companies in the first half of this year.
Besides, the ratio of people with multiple debts from three or more savings banks also came to 66.17 percent during the April-June period, according to the Korea Deposit Insurance Corp.
“A credit crisis may occur if the interest burden for multiple debtors grows due to interest rate hikes,” Ryu Chang-won, a researcher at the Hana institute of Finance, said. “It’s necessary to adjust the pace of household debts, including individual credit borrowing, and constantly manage the soundness (of savings banks’ loans).”