Internet-only K-Bank posts first profit in 2021 since launch

Headquarters of K Bank in central Seoul (K Bank)

K-Bank, a South Korean internet-only bank, reported its first profit since its launch in 2017 on Thursday on a surge in customer base and interest income.

Net profit was 22.4 billion won ($18.6 million) in 2021, a reversal from a loss of 105.4 billion won a year earlier, according to the interim report on company results.

It is the first annual net profit recorded by the internet-only bank since its launch in 2017. K-Bank is controlled by a consortium made up of telecommunications giant KT Corp., Woori Bank and other companies.

The 2021 profits are mainly driven by an increase in its customer base and an increase in interest income.

K-Bank said the number of its customers stood at 7.17 million at the end of December, up about 5 million from a year earlier.

Their bank deposits stood at 11.32 trillion won at the end of last year, up sharply from 3.75 trillion won a year earlier. Its outstanding loans also increased from 2.99 trillion won to 7.09 trillion won during the cited period.

K-Bank earned 198 billion won in interest income last year, a 327% jump from a year earlier, the company said.

Its non-interest income totaled 19.6 billion won last year, a reversal from a loss of 10.2 billion won the year before.

K-Bank is now preparing to go public as part of efforts to raise funds to strengthen its presence as a major financial platform. The bank aims to complete its IPO by the end of this year.

Internet-only banks have seen marked growth recently as customers tend to prefer banking via mobile phones rather than visiting offline branches, a trend more entrenched during the pandemic.

KakaoBank, K-Bank’s biggest rival, went public last summer on the country’s main stock exchange. (Yonhap)

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