Hana Financial Group's head office in Seoul/Courtesy of Hana Financial Group

Woori beats Hana in Q1 profits

During the first quarter of this year, Woori Financial Group netted 568.6 billion won ($488 million) in profits to surpass Hana Financial Group, which saw its bottom line shrink 17 percent to 556 billion won ($478 million) from a year ago.

Out of the country’s four major financial holding companies, Hana was first relegated to the fourth spot because Woori nudged past Hana as soon as the former adopted the holding company system.

The two outfits are trying hard to beat each other.

Woori said that the transition to the holding firm format substantially chipped away at its profits, but its performance will get better down the road without accounting issues.

In response, Hana countered that it spent more than 100 billion won ($86 million) for early retirement programs for its employees so it will be able to retake the third position during the next quarter.

Another factor to affect the competition to avoid the rock bottom is mergers and acquisition (M&A). The two are vying to purchase Lotte Card, which is up for grab.

The financial group that snaps up the country’s fifth-largest credit card issuer would take the upper hand in the two-way rivalry.

The competition between the top two outfits of Shinhan Financial Group and KB Financial Group is also fierce.

During the first three months of this year, Shinhan topped the podium with net profits of 914.8 billion won ($786 million) against KB, which chalked up 845.7 billion won ($726 million).

KB also pointed its finger at the one-off costs involving early retirement programs.

There is one more minor player of NH Financial Group, which recorded 432.7 billion won ($372 million) profits during the January-March period.


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