Bankers Enjoy Fat Bonuses from Interest Payments

  • By Kim Eun-joong

    February 15, 2023 12:31

    Korea's five major commercial banks paid close to W1.4 trillion in bonuses to staff last year amid record earnings, 35 percent more than a year earlier (US$1=W1,273). 
    Their net profits increased 20 percent. 
    According to Financial Supervisory Service data on Tuesday, the five major banks paid W1.38 trillion in bonuses last year. 
    NH Nonghyup Bank topped the list with W670.6 billion, followed by KB Kookmin Bank (W204.4 billion), Shinhan Bank (W187.8 billion), KEB Hana Bank (W163.9 billion) and Woori Bank (W155.6 billion). 
    Interest income accounted for more than 90 percent of total operating profit earned by Kookmin, Shinhan, KEB Hana and Woori last year, or W12 trillion. This has led to criticism that they rewarded their employees with money from their debtors. 
    Soaring interest rates allowed the major banks to reap record profits despite a 49 percent drop in stock valuation gains and commissions as the stock market plummeted. 
    The ratio of interest income to total operating profit reached 96.8 percent at Shinhan, 96.2 percent at KB Kookmin, 94.3 percent at KEB Hana and 90.9 percent at Woori. This is extremely high compared to foreign lenders. 
    Domestic banks have been trying to diversify their earnings sources for a decade now, but progress has been glacial.  
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