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Emerging markets 250 2002: Growth spurt belies global gloom

Restructuring, cost-cutting and consolidation have enabled some emerging-market banks to post growth and profits that set them apart from stagnant global rivals.


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EMERGING-MARKET INVESTORS remain confident that lacklustre recovery in the advanced economies will not undermine the growth prospects of such economies as Korea, Mexico and southeast Asian countries. Eastern Europe has also surged, with Russia in the lead.

Korean banks made big gains in our rankings. A resurgence in consumer spending has resuscitated an economy weakened last year by global IT retrenchment. Even without mergers, many Korean banks registered hefty profit increases last year. Revenue flows from heavy personal lending and credit card fees have been combined with cost cutting. Kookmin (5) climbs seven places in the rankings. It is now the largest Asian bank outside mainland China by both shareholder equity and assets. Kookmin is also the most profitable bank in Korea (net income $648 million), and the sixth most profitable overall.

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