South Korea’s financial authorities Tuesday released a set of revisions to the current ownership law of internet-only banks, paving the way for big ICT-oriented firms like Naver, Nexon and Kakao to become the largest shareholder by raising their stake up to 34 percent from January next year.
The current regulations on separation of financial and commercial capital limit voting rights in banks to 4 percent, but the cap would be relaxed for ICT companies.
The revision will take effect on Jan. 16 after deliberation by the Office of Legislation.
Eligibility is extended to companies whose information and communication technology (ICT) assets make up 50 percent or more of total non-financial assets. And the new largest shareholder with a history of violations of finance-related laws, anti-trust and tax criminal regulations will be disqualified.
Foreign ICT companies are allowed to join internet-only banks but they are required to show commitment to developing the domestic fintech industry and contribution to financial outreach to low income earners.
The lending limit by an internet-only bank to a single person will be a tougher 20 percent of equity capital, a measure to prevent the bank from becoming a private piggy bank of the largest shareholder.
By Lee Seung-yoon and Minu Kim
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