The spread of COVID-19 is affecting South Korean financial companies’ global business by limiting personnel movements. For example, Shinhan Financial Group indefinitely postponed business trips to Europe with regard to its startup accelerator program Shinhan Future’s Lab.
Until recently, the CEOs of those financial companies held three to four overseas IR sessions a year to meet with foreign financial companies and institutional investors and launch new joint projects. However, with global investors such as Goldman Sachs limiting business trips to South Korea these days, those companies have canceled most of their overseas business trips since last month. Besides, their IR sessions for the rest of this year are up in the air with COVID-19 still spreading.
South Korean banks’ overseas business expansion is likely to be affected as well in that locals are shunning South Koreans and sojourning employees are minimizing their activities for the possibility of infection. “It is true that locals are refraining from contact with our South Korean employees and the employees themselves are trying to avoid contact with local customers,” said a South Korean bank located in Vietnam. It is becoming increasingly difficult for South Korean banks with narrower overseas networks to increase the number of their branches abroad.