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Sunday, 7 June 2015

KorEconomics 101 (한국경제학개론), Part IV: Woori Bank (the Second Oldest Bank in Korea since 1899 - 36th Reigning Year of Emperor Gojong-Gwangmu)

Woori Bank (Hanja/Romanization: 우리銀行/Uri Eunhaeng; roughly translated as 'Our Bank' in English) is a bank headquartered at 51 Sogong Avenue/Sogongno, Hoehyeon-dong 1-ga 203-beonji, Seoul Jung-gu. The bank changed its name in 2002, and includes the former Commercial Bank of Korea (조선상업은행/Joseon Sang-eop Eunhaeng, later 한국상업은행/Hankook Sang-eop Eunhaeng during the outbreak of Korean War), Hanil Bank (한일은행), and Peace Bank (평화은행/Pyeonghwa Eunhaeng). It was known from 1999 through 2002 as Hanvit Bank (한빛은행). It is noted as the second oldest bank established in Korea after Shinhan Bank.

The foundation of the bank traced to the early 20th century as Daehan Cheon-il Bank (대한천일은행), established in 1899 under the decree of the Emperor of Korean Empire, Emperor Gojong-Gwangmu. Daehan Cheon-il Bank was a Korean bank aimed to preserve Korea's national capital assets against the growing influences of the Japanese banks over Korea's finances. The Jongno branch is located in the Gwangtonggwan, the oldest continuously-operating bank building in Korea. It was registered as one of city's protected monuments on March 5th 2001.

In 2004, Woori Bank opened its Kaesong Industrial Complex branch, in Kaesong, North Korea. In May 2009, Woori Bank became the first South Korean bank to issue UnionPay debit cards in China. In March 2010, it became the first foreign bank to issue Shanghai Tourism Cards in mainland China. On March 14th 2012, its Indonesian subsidiary, Bank Woori Indonesia, announced a plan to merge with a local bank, Bank Saudara and the merging was effective on December 30th 2014 as Perseroan Terbatas Bank Woori Saudara Indonesia 1906, Terbuka. A month later, Woori Bank opened its first branch in India at Chennai.

Woori Bank provides a full range of commercial banking services. The Bank offers deposits, loans, insurance, security investments, online banking, credit cards, funds, and pensions. It is the first South Korean bank to support non-Internet Explorer web browsers for online banking in Korea. However, its foreign divisions, such as the one based in China, still require Internet Explorer. Woori Bank has operations in Bangladesh, Indonesia, China and Brazil.

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