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S Korean App-Based Lender K Bank Files First Application for IPO

South Korean app-based lender K Bank has submitted a preliminary application to conduct an initial public offering (IPO) in the country, Reuters reported Thursday (June 30) based on a statement from the Korea Exchange.

K Bank launched in Korea in 2015 as a digital-only bank. According to Korean news website Pulse, it was the first digital-only bank licensed in the country.

K Bank posted an operating profit of $19 million on revenue of $222 million for 2021, according to the exchange.

Pulse separately reported that K Bank has seen a tripling of its subscriber count since inking a deal with Upbit, which Pulse called Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, bringing its user count to about 7 million users as of December. The growth was due in part to K Bank having updated its app in a way that attracted borrowers older than 50 and younger than 20.

The Korea Times reported in March 2021 that the partnership with Upbit was helping K Bank by making the online bank more attractive to younger users interested in cryptocurrencies.

“Young Koreans have flocked to the mobile-based bank to invest in coin assets such as bitcoin or ethereum at crypto exchange Upbit, which requires users to have an account at K bank to deposit or withdraw money for coin trading,” the report stated.

Investors in K Bank, according to Pulse, include KT, Bain Capital, MBK Partners, JS PE and Shinhan Asset Management.

K Bank is being advised on the IPO by NH Investment & Securities, Citigroup and J.P. Morgan, Reuters reported.

In other news from South Korea, Western Union partnered with ICB’s mobile app Debunk Remit in March for cross-border transfers in the country.

Read more: South Korea to Access Western Union with ICB App For Cross-Border Payments

One of South Korea’s largest cross-border FinTechs, ICB processes $1.6 billion in transactions every year and works with more than 15,000 merchants.

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