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Getting Rid of the Rust: Three years after the Crisis, many in the Asiaweek Financial 500 are in the black. Will profitability last?

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Money and Investing: Riding the hottest financial stocks in Asia (plus the 100 hottest bank stocks)

Foreign Invasion?: Overseas banks go slow on buyouts
Technology: The nitty gritty of Internet banking
Halfway at full speed: Hong Kong and Singapore rebound
The Acquired: What Danu Bank learned form its new owner
The Home-Alone Bank: Why Taiwan's Chinatrust didn't expand

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South Korea: Better than Terrible
Snapshot: 18 banks in the 500 (1999: 19) Assets: $481.5b. ($452.2b.) Profits: -$6.5b. (-$11.3b.)

Last year, it was Daewoo's collapse that burdened banks. This year it is Hyundai's woes. Who will next be in the news? (Hint: The initials might be LG.) Not surprisingly, banks that haven't lent to Hyundai — especially its construction arm — could benefit most from a robust recovery.

RESTRUCTURING With Round One now complete, the government is pushing for further consolidation. It hopes two or three beefed-up banks could compete globally, so don't be surprised by a big merger before the end of the year.

LENDING Deposit growth has soared at a rate of about 35% this year thanks to nervous savers yanking their money out of troubled investment trust companies to put in banks (which, in comparison to the ITCs, are actually pretty solid).

LIBERALIZATION The law now allows foreigners to control local financial institutions. Some have taken advantage of it. More would if the prices of Korean banks weren't so dear.

Performance Topnotchers: 10 Best Performing Banks
   Institution  HQ
$ Mill
$ Mill
Profit as % of



Assets Equity
1 KOOKMIN BANK Seoul 64,130 -24.4 32
2 HANVIT BANK Seoul 63,994 -2,002.9 33
3 H & CB Seoul 42,772 399.6 0.9% 21.1% 52
4 KOREA EXCHANGE BANK Seoul 41,712 -723.6 53
5 CHOHUNG BANK Seoul 41,247 -655.8 54
6 INDUSTRIAL BANK OF KOREA Seoul 37,634 110.7 0.3% 6.7% 57
7 SHINHAN BANK Seoul 37,465 100.1 0.3% 4.0% 58
8 HANA BANK Seoul 32,343 127.0 0.4% 8.2% 71
9 KOREA FIRST BANK Seoul 24,955 -882.8 88
10 SEOULBANK Seoul 21,340 -1,962.3 100

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Rating show the number of banks in each category; "E" is the lowest grade for financial soundness. Souce: Moody's Investors Service

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