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Korea

Best bank
Kookmin Bank Best equities house
Goldman Sachs

Best debt house
Citigroup

Best M&A house
Morgan Stanley

Kookmin Bank, like several other local firms, has suffered recently from Korea?s credit card crisis. This came after a government-led initiative encouraged leading banks aggressively to push their credit card businesses, which resulted in an average of 4.5 cards per economically active citizen and led to a series of bankruptcies.

Kookmin?s 2003 financial results reflect the aftershocks of the national credit card madness. But it remains by some margin Korea?s strongest bank and this alone argues for its retaining the best bank award for the third consecutive year. Its non-performing loans are the lowest of any bank in Korea and its tier 1 capital adequacy ratio is second only to Shinhan Bank.

Because it is so geared to the retail market ? the bank lends to 60% of Korean households and has number one market share for retail deposits ? Kookmin enjoys higher net interest margins than its competitors and, arguably, is better placed for an economic rebound as the retail market begins to spend and borrow again.

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