Woori Wins Dasan Financial Award

Focus on successful privatization and strengthening overseas operations

Executives of Woori Financial Group and its affiliates led by Chairman Lee Pal-sung , 3rd R,raise their arms to rally for the groupOs success this year.

Woori Bank President Lee Chong-whi said the biggest task the bank will face this year is its privatization as the government will come up with a new plan to push the project as early as possible, although it suspended it in the absence of viable bidders last year. "We expect the government to take action very soon in that regard," the CEO said.
Lee also projected that the bank's net income would be around 1 trillion won for 2010 despite various domestic problems that hit the banking industry last year along with the impacts from the global financial crisis. He attributed the excellent record to risk management and various measures to squeeze profits including reducing expenses.
The president said the bankOs net income for 2011 is targeted to increase 50 percent over last year by strengthening its organizational capability to take over a top leading position over competitors, breaking away from the tight management policies adopted last year to return it to normal operations mode in order to invigorate banking operations, he said.
The CEO said the bank is ready to go full steam ahead this year to achieve the operational targets following a personnel reshuffle that saw seven vice presidents and a number of branch managers replaced based on performance results. The bank has plans to reorganize its operational systems and processes to focus on performance results. Woori plans to focus on private banking and financially strong customers, including SMEs with healthy financial conditions, to expand its profit-making base and avoid excess competition and short-term growth operations, the CEO said.
The bank will also go for increasing non-interest revenue through handling funds, bancassurance and retirement funds on a stable basis and also finance new growth business sectors such as new recycled energy, Lee said.
Lee also feels that Woori has the need to strengthen its risk management, because it has more project financing loans and corporate borrowers on work-out compared to rival banks. The bank should complete the work-out programs for corporate borrowers by restructuring their financial conditions and writing off or selling non-performing assets to improve the bank's financial health, he said.
Lee also said the bank will strengthen its overseas operations this year, which have contracted due to the global financial crisis and the saturation of the financial market, taking advantage of Korea's upgraded world image as chair nation of the G-20 Summit last year to globalize its operations.
The bank, in this regard, has taken measures to upgrade its global business group and the foreign exchange business team by merging them into the global business headquarters to make its overseas operations strong.
Woori plans to open a branch in St. Petersburg, the second largest city in Russia, in the first half this year. In the second half, the bank plans to upgrade its office in Chennai, India, to a full branch, turn its office into a wholly-owned subsidiary in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and open a branch in Sydney, Australia, the CEO said.
In the meantime, Chairman Lee Pal-sung of Woori Financial Group won the Grand Award of the 20th Dasan Financial Prize in a ceremony held at Lotte Hotel in downtown Seoul on Jan. 3 for his astute leadership of the group since his assumption of the top office, executing his management strategies including the privatization of the group and expansion of the group's profit base. He was credited with the groupOs success in coping with the global financial crisis by knowing exactly the nature of the crisis and taking care of its various impacts on the group.
When the crisis came, he swiftly moved the group to a crisis management stance, and from 2009 he had the group focus on internal operational matters such as cost cutting and the creation of synergy within the group. As a result, the group's net income increased from 2008 to 2009 by more than 600 billion won, and last year the group's net income broke 1 trillion won at the end of the third quarter.
The chairman carried out a OonedoO campaign from December 2009 for 25,000 of the group's officers and staff for continuous reform, and by the end of September 2010 the group's extra net income amounted to 15 billion won through cost cuts and efforts to expand profit.

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