Woori Bank Chairman of the Board of Directors Hyun Seong Yoon says that under its new identity, the bank will roll out a slew of innovative banking products and services to serve the diverse financial needs of its customers, and support the Kingdom’s development agenda.
Share with us Woori Bank’s journey of transformation over the decades.
Woori Bank Cambodia formerly known as WB Finance has been serving financial services and products for more than 30 years throughout the country.
In the continued quest of always making the lives of Cambodian better through smart and simple financial solutions, Woori Bank has gone through many major transformations.
Some of the major milestones include the inception of the funding programme in 1990, receiving official approval to operate as microfinance institution in 2004.
They also include upgrading our licence to a micro-deposit taking finance institution to expand our products and services in 2011, and completing the merger with Woori Finance Plc in 2020 to further expand our network.
We injected $100 million to keep up with the rapid growth of WB Finance in late 2020 and to become a commercial bank now known as Woori Bank going forward.
While many changes have taken place over the years, the one thing that will always remain the same is our dedication to continue improving to better serve our clients.
What are your immediate plans for Woori Bank in Cambodia now that it is a fully fledged commercial bank?
Woori Bank Cambodia will be expanding its products and services to accommodate the growing needs of our current and future clients.
This operational licence upgrade will bring many benefits to our consumers.
A few key items will include corporate banking products and services for clients looking for larger size loans, trade finance products and services to facilitate international trade and commerce for customers, and debit/credit cards to assist in the growing need for digital transactions, and many more.
We will also be upgrading the quality of our branches while expanding our operational network. These are just a few of the many exciting things as Woori Bank continues to make banking easier than ever for our clients.
The bank is fast expanding in Cambodia – what potential do you see in terms of banking and financial sector growth?
Cambodia has many factors that make it one of the most exciting countries in the world for banking. First and foremost, the Cambodian government’s management of Covid-19 has been absolutely impeccable.
Their handling of vaccinations, timely imposed restrictions and much needed assistance to civilians have allowed the economy to reopen swiftly.
Thanks to this incredible effort, the Cambodian economy is projected to grow by 4.8 per cent in 2022, bringing gross domestic product – GDP – to around $30.544 billion this year, with GDP per capita to $1,841 in 2022.
Another factor that will accelerate banking and financial sector growth is the government’s continued push for financial inclusion.
This will certainly help with increasing the number of financial clients, especially in a rapidly growing country like Cambodia.
What type of expertise will you share with the Cambodian market in terms of technology and governance?
Woori Bank Korea – the mother company of Woori Bank Cambodia – has a rich history dating back to more than a century ago.
From being the first bank in Korean history to install an online ATM and being selected as the best bank in Korea many times, to operating in more than 20 countries, Woori Bank Korea has consistently shown that we are innovative, trustworthy and always place our main focus on improving every aspect of a customer’s banking journey.
The same dedication and experience will be utilised to its full potential here in Cambodia. Cambodian customers can expect a bank that is here to grow with them throughout their banking journey while innovating for them every single day.
How are you integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies in your corporate plans?
As our business continues to expand, our corporate social responsibility remains an integral part of our plans as we look to give back to those in need.
In response to the recent major floods, we donated food supplies to affected families in Battambang and made additional cash contributions to affected families nationwide.
Furthermore, Woori Bank created a special programme named the “Best Child Programme” to sponsor the children’s best client.
Woori Bank also rolled out the “SOBOROS Deposit Account” that allows our customers to gain up to 7.85 per cent in interest while also donating to their favourite charitable organisation.
These organisations include the Kantha Bopha Foundation, the Dhamma Osatha Foundation, the Don Bosco Foundation of Cambodia, the Angkor Hospital for Children and the Cambodian Children’s Fund.
In response to Covid-19, WB Finance made cash donations to the Ministry of Health in response to the initial outbreak, donated medical supplies to hospitals affected by the pandemic through National Bank of Cambodia, and made additional contributions to the Royal Government of Cambodia in an effort to purchase vaccines for the country to wrap up the year.
ESG has always been a part of Woori Bank to support Cambodians.
How important is the Southeast Asia market to Woori’s regional expansion?
Woori Bank expects to reach around $920 million in loan portfolio in 2021 and deposits will reach $186 million, while total assets grew to approximately $1.1 billion.
Our customers have increased to well over 320,000. Overall, we recorded growth in profits, loans and deposits while maintaining sound asset quality.
A major part of the success of our company is built on the undeniable enthusiasm and eye-catching belief of our shareholder.
Over the years, our shareholder has demonstrated time and time again how much they believe in Cambodia with their continued support in both sharing experience and financial support.
So needless to say, Southeast Asia – especially Cambodia – is a very integral market to Woori Bank’s expansion plans.
Do you have any message as Woori Bank enters the market in 2022?
I would like to thank our customers, shareholders, the relevant authorities and all our staff for their efforts in executing our strategy, their ongoing support and guidance in our operations, and indisputable confidence in our vision in order to achieve our goals and objectives.
My sincere thanks and genuine appreciation go out to all of them, as this would not have been possible without them.
I’m highly dedicated in leading and supporting Woori Bank effectively and sustainably as we enter the next chapter in order to become Cambodia’s leading financial institution in the foreseeable future.