South Korean regulators will order three consumer finance companies to suspend operations for three months as early as Feb. 14 after the nation’s biggest theft of data on credit card holders, an official said.
The Financial Services Commission (FSC) plans to notify the card units of KB Financial Group Inc, NH Financial Group Inc and the Lotte Group of its decision today, Rhee Yun-su, a commission official, said yesterday by phone.
“The companies will have 10 days to appeal” following notification, Rhee said. “Unless there’s some change, the suspensions will take effect Feb. 14.”
The theft has riled the public and politicians in a country where consumers use plastic for more than half of their spending. South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Jan. 27 demanded a thorough investigation, and FSC Chairman Shin Je-yoon apologized on Jan. 22. for the breaches, which prompted clients to cancel cards and top executives at the firms to offer to quit.
KB Financial said in an e-mailed release yesterday that the company already accepted Kookmin Card chief Shim Jae-oh’s resignation.
In a nation of more than 50 million people, about 2.28 million card holders at the three companies have requested cancelation of their cards, while 3.84 million customers demanded that cards be reissued as of yesterday, according to an FSC tally e-mailed yesterday.