Bank Restructuring in Asia: Crisis management in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis and prospects for crisis prevention -Korea-

Author Name ITO Takatoshi  (Faculty Fellow, RIETI / the University of Tokyo) /HASHIMOTO Yuko  (Toyo University)
Creation Date/NO. June 2007 07-E-038
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This paper analyzes the Korean bank restructuring process that started in the wake of its currency crisis of 1997. Korea suffered a heavy currency crisis that was accompanied, if not caused, by acute shortage of dollar liquidity of Korean banks. The currency crisis was essentially banking crisis.

This paper covers topics such as the scheme of capital injection to weak banks, nationalization of insolvent institutions, and setting up a strong financial restructuring agency. Structural problem as well as liquidity problem in banks' balance sheets became serious as the currency crisis deepened. On April 14, 1998, the Government announced the basic restructuring framework aiming to stabilize financial markets. The government's restructuring framework included capital injection to financial institutions, mergers and/or closing down of banks, and asset sales. Regulatory institutions, such as the Korea Asset Management Corporation (KAMCO), the Korea Deposit Insurance Corporation (KDIC) and Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) were also reorganized or newly created around 1997 and 1998.

Bank restructuring in Korea, after all, in the aftermath of the Asian currency crisis is almost over. The focus of government-led bank restructuring is now shifted to create market-oriented reform, to ensure peace-time operation, and to strengthen Korean banks so that Korea will no longer have financial crisis. It should be pointed out that decisive actions with massive public funds to restructure the financial sector in crisis are important for a strong recovery possible in the medium term.