For over the past 300 days, the KDB Union, a member of UNI affiliate the Korea Finance Industry Union (KFIU), has been fighting against the government’s decision to relocate the Korea Development Bank (KDB) from the capital city of Seoul to the southern port city of Busan.
This move was decided under South Korea’s government’s new policy of enhancing investment and development in provincial cities. The KDB is one of the targeted public sector entities.
KDB is currently in the Yoido district of Seoul, where all major financial institutions – including banks, securities & brokerages, assets management, accounting firms and consulting firms – are located.
In an earlier consultation meeting held on 22 March with Kim Han-Kyu, a lawmaker of the Democratic Party, the KFIU expressed great concern about the relocation plan and support for the KDB Union’s position.
During the meeting, Mr. Kim Hyun-Joon, KDB Union President, laid out reasons the proposed relocation plan will not succeed; he said,
“Uprooting the development bank way from Seoul means we are giving up a strategic location in the country’s financial hub.
“Top-performing staff who do not want to move from Seoul will leave, negatively impacting existing clients. It also makes policy coordination in any emergency much more difficult.
“We agree that strengthening the regional areas is important. Still, such a policy needs special and targeted measures rather than sweeping ones which fail to consider the unique characteristic of the affected entities, like the KDB.”
KFIU President Park Hong-Bae, agreed, “If the KDB relocation plan proceeds, it will jeopardize the fundamental strength of the KDB business and will not serve the national economy in the long term.”
UNI Asia & Pacific fully supports the KFIU-KDB Union’s efforts and issues a statement saying, “We are in solidarity with the union, and we are also concerned that there appears to be a lack of consultation with the affected staff, and, with the union representing staff concerns. We urge the KDB management and the relevant authorities to consider seriously the impact such a move would have on the country’s financial and development sector and the impact it would have on the staff, including their families.”
The KDB, first established in 1954, is one of the country’s leading financial institutions. It promotes industrial development through policy-based finance and restructuring programs, and it has historically played a leading role in the Korean economy, especially in financing the harbour, shipbuilding, automobile and steel manufacturing sectors.
The institution also played a crucial role in saving ailing Korean companies, which would have caused widespread devastating economic and social impacts if they had failed.