South Korean banks turn to employees to break the mould

SEOUL (The Korea Herald/ANN) – In an attempt to deviate from the conventional banking-focussed mindset, most have chosen to fuel in-house ventures this year, encouraging the units to experiment with digital transformation in order to come up with new business ideas.

The latest example is the state-run Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK), which in late January kicked off two in-house venture teams: ‘Creative’ in charge of innovative advertising content, and IBK Bobae, dedicated to pioneering new business roadmaps.

The two new units were modelled on the top two groups to emerge from a pilot project, Community of Practice, which ran throughout last year and involved 167 study groups, according to bank representatives.

“The two in-house ventures will be provided with full support this year, ranging from budget, human resources and infrastructure,” a bank representative said.

“The idea is to create an autonomous environment in which innovative talents may freely display their capacities, without being bound by the conventional business protocol or stereotypes.”

Woori Bank, which recently marked a new start as Woori Financial Group, recently undertook a more exceptional action.

Accepting a proposal from one of its in-house ventures, InnoThink, the bank decided to provide title sponsorship for League of Legends Champions Korea, the local league of ‘LOL’, the world’s most popular online game. It was the first time that a major bank listed its name as an official sponsor of an esports event.

The bank also operates a venture called Dream Cell, based on an idea that came about through an in-house idea contest last year.