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Top South Korean banks KB and Shinhan build on Japan ties, chiefs say

Digital-savvy lenders began forging Japanese alliances even before diplomatic thaw

Shinhan Financial Group and KB Financial Group are seeking bigger presences in Japan. (Source photos by Hiromi Yamabata and Jun Tamaki)

TOKYO -- The diplomatic thaw between Tokyo and Seoul may be recent, but major South Korean banks Shinhan Financial Group and KB Financial Group have been building relationships in Japan for years -- and they are looking for more.

"In the future, we're going into wholesale banking -- that is, for corporate customers," said Jin Ok-dong, CEO of Shinhan Financial, whose Japanese retail banking unit, SBJ Bank, marked its 14th year in business this year.

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