Korean banks play out waiting game

As we enter the third quarter, predictions of banking consolidation in Korea have resurfaced. They may be premature.

According to our sources, the governments plan to merge Hanvit, Cho Hung and KEB may not end up going through until the end of 2001. That would follow a government announcement in November, a review period till February and completion at year end 2001.

This in turn may delay the date for marriages among the private banks. Foremost among these banks are HCB, Shinhan and Kookmin.

HCB and Kookmin are the dominant retail banking players and are among the strongest banks in Korea by quite a stretch. Shinhan is a strong commercial bank.

Is there reason to be optimistic that a merger will happen Maybe. Thats because investors continue...

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