Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Culture that is Korea: Economies of scope in the Korean banking industry

In the R.O.K., banks will pay you a higher interest rate on your deposits, the more weight you lose!


SEOUL (Reuters) – Park Keun-jun is determined to fulfill two resolutions this year: bulk up his bank account but slim down himself.

Enter South Korean banks, with plans to help with both.

"I'd like to bet my money on a bank's savings plan if the bank gives credits to me for not giving up on my New Year's resolutions," said Park, a 32-year-old car designer.

Hana Bank, the banking arm of Hana Financial Group, sells an installment savings product called "S-Line," a Korean word that means an hourglass figure -- just one reflection of the current Korean obsession with being slim and in shape.

The more calories a customer burns, the higher interest rate the bank gives. If a customer loses more than five percent of their weight within a year, or holds a gym membership, the bank grants special rates...For Park, who wants to save money for several years but fears burning a hole in his wallet by following his fitness resolution since many gym memberships in Seoul are expensive, such banks' plans give him guarded hope.

Now I am waiting for the gyms to retaliate by letting you use more or better equipment as you progressively dis-intermediate your funds.

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