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Seoul bank races to find a foreign buyer

As Seoul Bank faces being dragged into the government's financial holding company, CEO Kang Chungwon explains how he plans to get the bank back on track.

Kang Chungwon, Seoul Bank's president and CEO, is a man on a mission. The ex-Citi and Deutsche banker has been given until June to get the bank back on track and sold to a foreign investor. If not, it faces the prospect of being dragged into the government's financial holding company. That's something Kang definitely doesn't want. Chris Cockerill caught up with him just before he disappeared on a roadshow attempting to entice a foreign buyer.

Has the recapitalization of your bank and the other five in fact slowed the restructuring process?

Theoretically that is possible. But outsiders need to understand the background and history of the system. It is unfolding and it is changing. For example, we are transplanting international business structures onto Seoul Bank but it will take time. We cannot expect the problems to go away over night.

Do you think you will need a further injection of funds on top of the W5.2 trillion ($4 billion) you have already received?

Well we have taken care of the bad debts and we have let two problematic construction companies go: Dong-Ah and Woobang. As for the whole sector, I don't think anybody can guarantee that no more money will be needed.

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