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Woori establishes Russian business

Korean bank major Woori announced it has set up a wholly-owned subsidiary in Russia.

Woori Bank, the flagship unit of Woori Finance Holdings, said it launched Zao Woori Bank in Moscow on January 9 with the aim at expanding into Russia's corporate banking market. Woori is the first South Korean lender to set up a subsidiary in Russia. The establishment of the Russian unit by Woori Bank came as local lenders make efforts to penetrate foreign markets due to a nearly saturated domestic market.

“We plan to provide banking services with South Korean companies operating in Russia and to make a foray into corporate banking services later,” a bank official said. “We are also seeking to do business with firms engaged in natural resource development.”

The opening of the Russian unit is part of plans by Woori Bank to expand its global network. The lender said it aims at opening 200 branches around the world by 2010. As part of that drive, Woori Bank set up a subsidiary in China in November.

Woori Bank posted a net profit of 244.3 billion won ($259 million) in the third quarter, down 53.9% from a year earlier. Currently, the lender has 39 branches around the world. (Koreatimes)