SOUTH KOREA: KDB accelerates drive to set up new hub in EU.

As published on koreatimes.co.kr, Friday 12 August, 2022.

The Korea Development Bank (KDB) has initiated steps to set up a branch in Germany in order to establish a new base within the European Union (EU).

The state-run lender has drawn up a task force for the purpose, and dispatched personnel to Frankfurt last month, a senior KDB official said. The task force will take steps to switch the KDB's office there into a branch to conduct business operations in the 27-member economic bloc, with a base in the EU's largest economy.

The KDB's plan was developed after the U.K. left the EU in 2020. The bank has a branch in London that offers services in corporate finance, trade finance, derivatives, security investment and treasuries. In Europe, aside from this unit, the KDB has subsidiaries in Ireland and Hungary.

"The London unit has served as the bank's Europe hub, but Brexit gave rise to the need for a business hub within the EU, to access the EU market," the KDB official said.

Frankfurt is the largest financial center in continental Europe, hosting key regulatory institutions such as the European Central Bank, Deutsche Bundesbank as well as major international banks. The city is home to over 200 financial institutions, 80 percent of which are foreign entities.

"The decision was also made considering the fact that Germany is a leader in green finance," the official said.

Germany ranks among the world's top issuers of green bonds, while the region of Europe has pioneered the green bond market. Germany was the second-largest issuer of green bonds in terms of volume in 2020, after the U.S. In the same year, 48 percent of global issuances of green bonds were denominated in euros and 51 percent of the global volume of green bonds was issued in the EU.

The KDB is in the process of reorganizing its overseas business to focus on lucrative markets. The lender set up a branch in Hong Kong in April, which is its second unit aside from its subsidiary in the city. The KDB plans for its Hong Kong subsidiary to focus on investment banking services, while the new branch will mainly deal with corporate banking.

The state-run lender has 11 overseas branches ― five in China and others in New York, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and Yangon. It has six subsidiaries that are based in the U.S., Dublin, Budapest, Hong Kong, Uzbekistan and San Paulo.

The bank's business covers corporate banking and restructuring, investment banking, venture capital, technology finance, overseas financing, pensions and trusts.

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