The first braking of ‘bank store closure’ with the strength of local residents… Will it spread to other regions?

Shinhan Bank agrees with residents not to close stores
Samcheok, Muan, and Tongyeong are also about to close their stores next year.
Nearly 1,000 stores have disappeared in the last 5 years

On the afternoon of the 23rd, in front of the Financial Supervisory Service in Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, officials of the ‘Resident Countermeasures Committee for Resolving Damages Caused by the Closing of Shinhan Bank’ held a press conference to protest against the policy of consolidation of Wolgye-dong branches in Nowon-gu and shouting slogans. Yeonhan News

Shinhan Bank’s Wolgye-dong branch in Nowon-gu, Seoul, which was scheduled to close in February next year, has survived thanks to the efforts of local residents. While bank stores are being pushed away every year for the sake of profitability, this is the first time that residents have taken the initiative to prevent store closures.

Although the issue of the Wolgye-dong branch has been resolved, the need to maintain the store is gradually decreasing from the bank’s point of view, so the friction between the bank and the residents over the store closure is expected to continue.

“The closure of the branch was prevented with the power of the residents”

On the 29th, the Residents’ Countermeasures Committee (CEO) for resolving the damage caused by the closing of Shinhan Bank held a press conference in front of the Wolgye-dong branch and announced that “the closure of the Wolgye-dong branch was prevented with the strength of the residents.”

When the news of the store closure was announced last month, the task force took action directly, including a press conference and signature campaign. The Wolgye-dong branch is a store used by 10,000 households of nearby residents, and the countermeasures committee demanded that a face-to-face window was absolutely necessary as there were many elderly users.

According to an agreement between the residents and the bank, two counter staff will be resident at the Wolgye-dong branch. Initially, Shinhan Bank planned to close the branch in February next year and convert it to a ‘digital lounge’. Digital Lounge is a store that has eliminated face-to-face windows and is operated as a kind of kiosk-type device.

Wolgye-dong is just the beginning… Visualization of local store closures

The problem is that there are not one or two stores that banks have decided to eliminate in the future. From the beginning of next year, Shinhan Bank alone is about to close 45 stores, including △Tongyeong, Gyeongnam (Tongyeong Financial Center) △ Muan, Jeollanam-do (Namak branch) △ Gangwon Samcheok (Samcheok branch).

These stores are the only remaining stores in the city and county, and if they are closed, residents will have to move their main bank or travel a long distance to use the stores. There have already been some areas where local residents and city officials have come forward to oppose the closure. A Shinhan Bank official said, “We will try to minimize the transaction inconvenience for the financially underprivileged that may occur due to branch consolidation and closure.”

However, the bank’s position is not without justification. As non-face-to-face transactions become the mainstream, local small stores have become ‘sick fingers’ that cannot make a profit. As banks’ store closures accelerated, the number of banknote branches from 7,281 in 2015 decreased by 955 by June this year, leaving only 6,326.

“We need to strengthen preliminary evaluation and review joint store operation”

Experts are calling for the financial authorities to play an active role. In February of this year, the Financial Supervisory Service made it compulsory to conduct a ‘pre-closure impact assessment’ to prevent banks from indiscriminately closing their stores. However, there are evaluations that the formal procedure does not put an appropriate brake on the bank’s store closures.

“The Wolgye-dong branch was also decided to close after going through a pre-impact assessment,” said Deuk-eui Kim, head of the Korea Federation for Financial Justice. .

Kim Jeong-hyun reporter

Balance to see the world, Hankook Ilbo Copyright © Hankookilbo

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