Euh takes new path for banking industry
For Euh Yoon-dae, the “KB Financial Group chairman” title does not simply mean the top post of the nation’s leading financial services provider. Actually, the position is rather symbolic to him. He believes his ultimate goal is to usher the banking industry to the global stage by successfully reforming KB and turning it into a globally-competitive player.
“I take the job very seriously and will do my best. I believe that transforming KB into a prominent company can offer a good chance for the nation’s financial industry to leap forward,” Euh said in a recent interview with The Korea Times.
“There are concerns that the nation’s credit worthiness and competitiveness have been falling. Particularly, university, labor and finance sectors are way behind. If we improve these areas, our creditworthiness will increase accordingly,” he added.
As the former chairman of the Presidential Council on Nation Branding, his remarks indicate that he aims to go down a new path not only for KB but also for the local banking industry to help them reach a par with global players from advanced countries, such as the United States and the U.K.
Korean banks, including KB, have made remarkable progress over the past decade after undergoing full-fledged restructuring following the currency crisis at the turn of the 21st century.
Korean banks are now considered to be on a better footing to become a global player in many aspects.
However, it still has a long way to go as they lack the scale beyond Korea. They are still inwardly focused and have yet to brace globalization concepts in their management system. Internally, they need to reform bankers’ mindset and improve risk management.
The 65-year old has extensive experience and know-how gained from his efforts to upgrade Korea University into a global player. Korea University was only a local major before Euh took the helm but he boosted the university to joining the league of the global top 200 by recruiting global talent and introducing more English lectures.
Education is totally different from finance but given that both industries require reform in the mindset and talent pool for globalization, his success in the former is expected to give him an edge in overcoming the challenge.
His clear goal and vision are also raising hopes for the future of KB Financial. He said that he is seeking to turn KB into a global player, somewhere between JP Morgan and Santander, which other peers in Asia should respect, by forming alliances with other major players.