Tech the rush of companies to finance puts banks and regulators under pressure

Tech the rush of companies to finance puts banks and regulators under pressure

Meanwhile, Kakao Pay, a mobile payment arm under Kakao empire, is expected to introduce insurance services this year.

Naver Financial, a key Naver fintech subsidiary, started offering loans last year to small businesses with Woori Bank. The Naver Financial CEO said last month that he was considering seeking a permit to oversee more banking services, such as issuing insurance and credit cards.

Highlights

  • Shinhan Financial Group, one of the four banking giants in the country, recently named a former IBM managing director as its digital chief officer to accelerate a push to expand its digital services.

  • Financial companies are racing to counter digital rivals by the tech giants or forge partnerships with new contenders to survive in the rapidly changing market.

Hanwha Life Insurance has already unveiled what it calls an “artificial intelligence-powered fund,” which helps clients find the right life insurance plan that invests in stocks and bonds. The service is offered to those who have signed up for KakaoTalk, the most widely used messaging app here.

Meritz Fire & Marine Insurance is working with Kakao Pay to develop financial products for people between 30 and 50, with officials at the insurance firm saying the services will kick off as early as this month.

In the face of criticism for being soft on tech firms, regulators have been struggling to put in place rules to level the playing field for companies engaging in fintech services.

“We will help tech firms expand fintech services as long as they bring about innovation and better competition. But we will make sure regulations are in place to protect financial stability and consumers,” FSC chief Koh Seung-beom said in a New Year’s address Friday.

Koh toned down his rhetoric last month, when he vowed to use the commission‘s oversight power to prevent tech firms’ potential data monopoly. Jeong Eun-bo, head of the FSS, touched on a similar note in his New year’s address the same day, describing a “level playing field” as paramount in competition between tech firms and financial service companies eyeing fintech services.

“A system that guarantees both fairness and cooperation, that’s what we’re after,” Jeong said. By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)