Asia’s best digital bank 2022: KakaoBank
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Asia’s best digital bank 2022: KakaoBank

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For a time after its IPO in August, six-year-old branchless KakaoBank was the largest financial institution in South Korea by market capitalization. That didn’t last through the global tech stock collapse – and was always a little absurd – but the $2.2 billion IPO, which is still trading above its issue price, is a reminder of just how far this institution has come.

Pretty much uniquely in the high-promise, low-proof world of Asian digital finance, KakaoBank is profitable, and has been so since 2019, just two years after launch. It turned a W256.9 billion ($205 million) operating profit in 2021, up 110% year on year, having already reached 18 million customers out of a national population of 52 million.

A KakaoBank results statement is unusual because it actually looks like a bank, with quantifiable metrics rather than gaping holes where the profit or return numbers should be. So, it can tell you what its return on equity, deposits and capital adequacy are, because these things exist.

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