WealthBank, Woori form JV for SMEs, OFWs

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GAISANO-OWNED Vicsal Development Corp. (VDC) on Friday said the partnership between its financial arm, Wealth Development Bank (WealthBank), and South Korea’s Woori Bank will focus on catering to the needs of Korean small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

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The partners will also collaborate to Korean businesses operating in the country and Korean citizens visiting and working in the Philippines.

In a statement, VDC officially announced that the central bank has approved the investment of Woori Bank in WealthBank.

Woori Bank earlier said it has received approval from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to acquire a 51 percent stake in WealthBank.

Woori Bank is South Korea’s oldest and second largest bank in total assets, while WealthBank is one of the Philippines’ fastest growing thrift banks with close to P7 billion in assets.

VDC said the partnership between WealthBank and Woori will prioritize a number of growth areas and also look to both traditional and new channels to serve their clients.

“We see this partnership taking us to the next level in banking, and elevating our game in a number of important niche areas. We know where the untapped markets are, and with our local market insight and Woori’s expertise and technology, we can serve those segments quite effectively,” said WealthBank and VDC chairman Edward Gaisano.

On the part of Woori Bank, its chief representative for WealthBank, Noh Taec Park, said: “We look forward to the joint management of Wealth Bank with our dear partner VDC. We are confident that with the strong cooperative ties between VDC and Woori Bank, we will achieve mutual benefits for both parties and, at the same time, contribute to the development of the Philippines banking industry.”

VDC said the two partners bring highly complementary capabilities and a deep commitment to serving the retail, consumer, and small-medium enterprise banking needs of Filipinos and Filipino companies.

WealthBank is also part of a broader eco-system of businesses that will be a priority for the joint venture partners, including the fast-growing Metro Retail, the expanding business of Taft Properties, the property development initiatives of HT Land (also a joint venture of the group between Taft and Hong Kong Land), and Pacific Malls.

For its part, Woori brings international experience in serving a vast array of retail clients and commercial firms in the highly competitive market of South Korea, as well as its 225 branches in 20 other countries.

Woori is also well known for its technological innovation and use of computer and mobile telephony to serve clients of all income levels.

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