-written by Kim Jae-hyun
A few years ago Korea was struck by the financial crisis known as the “mutual banks crisis.” As a result, 27 mutual banks were forced to close their businesses, and a myriad of the low-income people lost their money to them. Now such financial inclemency has been settled down and it seems there needs to be a lucid remedy to prevent a future chaos. The Financial Service Commission and Korea Institute of Finance, therefore, prepared an open-discussion forum for the public on the 30th of August. It took place at Seoul YWCA located in Myong-dong at 3:00 P.M. Renowned financial experts such as Mr. Jung Chan Woo, vice chairman of the FSC and Mr. Lee Jae Yeon, the head researcher at the KIF participated in the session.
The fundamental causes of the mutual banks crisis are said to have mainly been attributed to the indiscreet and impetuous expansion of their size, PF loaning, accounting fraud, and unexpected side-effects of economic policies in a complex manner. In a resolute attempt to improve the mutual banks business, more than 150 people gathered at Seoul YWCA, and 8 preeminent expert guests were invited to lead the discussion in which they shared thoughts about invigorating the mutual banks industry. The entrance of Mr. Yoon Chang Hyun, the president of KIF, signaled the start of the event who gave out an opening speech on the event. Followed by him, the FSC vice chairman proposed a number of constructive suggestions that would help build the robust industry of mutual banks and recommended potential directions for them to move towards. Before the main discussion proceeded, the head researcher at the KIF presented more specific situations that the banks have been suffering from recently, suggesting a number of solutions to the problem in a scientific and statistical way. His presentation provided a general sense of the topics that would be discussed in the following session to be held after the 10-minute break. During the discussion session, 8 experts were given 8 minutes each and talked of their thoughts on the issue. Then the opportunity of participating in discussion was also given to the rest of 150 people who later freely expressed their opinions on the issue.
The event was successful. A multitude of brilliant ideas and suggestions were thoroughly discussed and shared. Then what would happen to the ‘fruits’ of the discussion? They will be reflected on the future laws and policies regarding mutual banks. As one of the 150 people participating in the event, I was proud of myself sharing ideas with those who passionately tried to bring about changes, even though a paltry set of my knowledge kept primitively undeveloped thoughts of mine from converging with the superior pool of theirs. Circumscribed by the barrier of school education in which discussions are usually limited to abstract, academic themes, it was a great opportunity for me to get involved in the pragmatic discussion where converged thoughts would later become part of reality. In this sense, this new experience was very exhilarating. Playing a significant role in nurturing future policymakers and experts in various fields like finance, schools would be better off incorporating more activities that engage practical matters such as this discussion, I thought.