One out of every 20 bank branches has closed over past yearUpdated: 2014-09-02 14:35:48 (KST)
One out of every 20 bank branches have closed down over the past year.
As of the end of July, the total number of bank branches in Korea stood at just over 51-hundred, down 5 percent from a year earlier.
That's the biggest decrease in 17 years.
The 1997 Asian financial crisis that folded five small-sized banks and shuttered nearly a thousand branches triggered a chain of mergers among Korean banks.
The move was followed by major restructuring that closed down more branches, and Internet banking and automation have further reduced their number.
Bank of Korea data shows that only 11 percent of all money transfers were made through counters at bank branches, with the rest handled through computers, smartphones, ATMs or telephones.
Such changes led to a reduction in workforce in the industry.
Major banks in Korea such as KB, Shinhan, Hana, Korea Exchange, Standard Chartered and Citibank reduced their workforce by an average of 3 percent last year.
The umbrella group of banking labor unions has called for a one-day strike on Wednesday by bank employees to back their demand of ensuring employment.
Song Ji-sun, Arirang News.
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