[THE INVESTOR] Korea's top four banks pocketed 16.76 trillion won (US$14.67 billion) from interest earnings alone until the third quarter of 2018, market data showed Oct. 28.
According to regulatory data released by lenders, KB Kookmin Bank, Shinhan Bank, Woori Bank and KEB Hana Bank combined to earn 1.57 trillion won more in interest than last year.
Of the four, KB Kookmin reported hauling in 4.51 trillion won from its borrowers, followed by 4.2 trillion won for Woori, 4.13 trillion won for Shinhan and 3.92 for KEB Hana.
At the present pace with combined interest earnings hovering at 5.5 trillion won per quarter, the total for the whole year is expected to surpass the 20 trillion-won mark.
Market observers said the main contributor to the increase can be found in the rise of net interest margin (NIM), which is how much money retail banks earn from customers' deposits after subtracting expenses and other outlays associated with bringing in funds.
The NIM reading for all banks has risen this year, mainly due to a better loan-deposit spread that stood at 2.33 percent in the July-September period for local lenders, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK). This is significantly higher than the 2.3 percent spread tallied in December of 2017, although the difference between what banks give to customers for deposits and what they earn from lending money has shrunk marginally as the year progressed.
By Song Seung-hyun and newswires (firstname.lastname@example.org)