Woori Bank has succeeded in acquiring a foreign financial company for the first time after declaring to turn itself into a holding company.
The bank announced on June 24 that it took over Cambodia’s microfinance institution VisionFund Cambodia and changed its name to WB Finance. The newly acquired company is a mid–sized financial firm with a total asset of 220 billion won (US$198.02 million) and 1,400 employees in 106 branches across the nation. It has strengths in retail banking as it has the largest retail branch network in Cambodia.
Woori Bank already established Woori Finance Cambodia in 2014 by acquiring a local credit financial business. The Korean bank is planning to merge the two companies and create a bank in the long term.
Woori Bank has succeeded in a series of mergers and acquisitions in the global market after President Sohn Tae-seung took office last year. Before becoming the bank’s CEO, Sohn led its global business. He is credited with expanding the bank’s global network from 73 branches in 18 countries in 2014 to 410 branches and offices in 25 countries, including the latest acquisition of WB Finance. Woori Bank made the global top 20 in terms of the number of foreign branches and offices.
Sohn said, “This year, we are planning to expand our global network to 500 branches and offices and strengthen our competitiveness by localizing South Korea’s real estate mortgage loans and credit loans and credit card business.” He pledged to expand the bank’s foreign assets to US$24.9 billion (27.73 trillion won) this year and earn US$508 million (565.7 billion won) in operating profits overseas. He aims to strengthen the sustainability of the bank’s foreign operations by making them profitable.