By Lee Kyung-min
|KB Kookmin Bank's headquarters in Seoul / Korea Times file|
KB Kookmin Bank will open a branch in Hanoi, Vietnam, after receiving approval from the financial authorities there, the bank said Thursday.
The branch will start operations in February 2019 after the office and logistics details are finalized. KB will become the sixth Korean bank with a Hanoi branch following Shinhan, Woori, the Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK), NongHyup and KEB Hana.
Similar efforts are underway by BNK Busan Bank and DGB Daegu Bank.
The approval came almost three years after it filed for to begin operations in early 2016.
The delay in approval was due to the authorities' stricter rules on the nationwide restructuring of local banks there, with foreign banks requests put on the back burner of the priority list.
The long-stalled approval picked up speed after Deputy Prime Minister Kim Dong-yeon and Financial Services Commission Chairman Choi Jong-ku discussed ways to facilitate the opening during a state visit by President Moon Jae-in to the Southeast Asian country in March.
The opening of the Hanoi branch is in line with the New Southern Policy, a key foreign policy initiative announced by Moon in November.
The move to expand the economic influence of Korea in the region prioritizes the so-called "3P" vision, which emphasizes people, prosperity and peace.