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Awards for Excellence 2009: Korea

Best Bank: Korea Exchange Bank
Best Debt House: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Korea’s beleaguered banks have probably emerged from the past 12 months with more credit in the eyes of international investors than either side might have expected. There had been murmurs about the banking system’s poor capitalization even before Lehman Brothers went under; led by Kexim’s successful issuance in January they began to recapitalize and posted decent end-of-year numbers. While last year’s winner Shinhan was among the better performers, Korea Exchange Bank (KEB) deserves to be named the country’s best. The bank reported strong results given the environment: while net revenue fell W159.6 billion to W782.6 billion ($622.7 million), operating income before provisions rose 15% year on year and the bank ended the year with strong capital ratios of 12.65%