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South Korean regulator to widen doors for online bank ownership

South Korea's Financial Services Commission said Oct. 16 that large South Korean companies subject to cross shareholding restrictions will be able to own more than 10% of a purely online bank as an exception to the country's antitrust law.

The Financial Services Commission unveiled a draft enforcement decree to implement the Special Act on the Establishment and Operation of Internet Specialized Banks from Jan. 17, 2019.

The new law was approved by the National Assembly on Sept. 20 and promulgated on Oct. 16 for enforcement after a three-month grace period.

The law raises a nonfinancial company's allowable ownership limit in a purely online lender to 34% from the current 10%.

The enforcement decree, which adds more specific rules and regulations, will allow conglomerates regulated under the Monopoly Regulation and Fair Trade Act to own up to 34% of an online-only bank if the company's units operating in the information and communications technology sector account for 50% or more of the group's assets.

The enforcement decree does not require parliamentary approval.