Woori aims to be worldwide player
By Kang Seung-woo
Korea has cranked out a handful of global enterprises such as Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics and Hyundai Motors.
But, the global stage has been an unfamiliar territory for local financial firms, as they have failed to earn worldwide recognition in the industry.
Woori Financial Group has set its sights on putting an end to this, bursting onto the international scene as a leading financial firm with its new "OneDo" brand vision.
Woori, the nation's second-largest financial holding company in total assets, unveiled the new motto for the group last December after finding a need to change in order to evolve.
The catchword is a conjugation of two words - one and do.
"One" means harmony, first place and cooperation, while "Do" represents creativeness, volunteerism and practice.
The company hopes that the motto will be established through creating a new DNA at Woori through small changes with every single employee to create a leap forward as a leading global financial firm.
As part of it, the holding company introduced three projects - WhyDea, WhyTing and Maestro - in all of its 10 subsidiaries, including three banks, to drive innovation this year.
The group earned 573 billion won ($457.25 million) in net profit during the first three months of 2010, a robust increase of 253.7 percent and 265 percent, compared with the previous year and quarter, respectively.
In addition, with the net earnings surpassing the 500 billion won level, it posted the highest quarterly gain since the third quarter of 2007.
As of the end of the first quarter in 2010, Woori Financial stood at 325.4 trillion won in total assets and recorded a return on equity (ROE) of 16.7 percent and a return on assets (ROA) of 0.8 percent.
Its Bank of International Settlements (BIS) ratio, a barometer for capital adequacy, logged 12.3 percent, well above the 8 percent regarded as the minimum; and its net interest margin (NIM), an indicator for profitability, rose by 0.11 percentage points to 2.42 percent from the fourth quarter of 2009.
Its affiliates also saw growth in the January-to-March period.
Woori Bank, the flagship of the group, logged 459.8 billion won in net revenue, up 292.3 billion won, or 174.5 percent, from a year earlier, while Kwangju and Kyoungnam banks swung into the black, tallying 40.5 billion won and 71.8 billion won in net earnings, respectively.
Woori Investment and Securities made 136.5 billion.