“Rules that limit household lending must have hammered profits at foreign banks who rely more on retail business than their domestic peers,” said Kim Hye-mi, a researcher at Seoul-based Hana Institute of Finance.
Profit of all 18 lenders in the country, including Standard Chartered and Citigroup, fell 42 percent to 4.8 trillion won in the first nine months of the year, as lending slumped and margins on loans shrank to a four-year low, the FSS said.
Standard Chartered, which does not provide quarterly earnings figures, said in August its South Korean consumer unit posted a loss of US$6 million after a US$100 million profit a year ago. Consumer banking revenue in the country may drop about 15 percent this year, it said on Dec. 4, without giving details.
Net income at Citibank Korea fell 28 percent from a year earlier to 145 billion won in the nine months ended September, figures from the US firm’s local unit show. Its ROE declined to 3.3 percent last year from 15.7 percent in 2005, the first full year after it bought Koram Bank.