Kakao Bank logo shows on the wall of the company's headquarters in headquarters in Pangyo, Gyeonggi Province. (Newsis)
Kakao Bank, South Korea's internet-only bank, announced on Wednesday it achieved a record-high net profit of 354.9 billion won ($267.67 million) last year, a 34.9 percent increase from a year earlier.
Its operating profit also soared by 35.48 percent to 478.5 billion won.
The online lender's credit expanded mainly on housing mortgage loans, the firm explained.
In the fourth quarter, Kakao Bank's deposit balance was approximately 47.1 trillion won, increasing by 14 trillion won from the end of the previous year, while the loan balance was 38.7 trillion won, surging by 10.8 trillion won during the same period.
Moreover, Kakao Bank's user base achieved record levels, with an additional 2.42 million clients joining over the year, bringing the total to 22.84 million by the end of last year. Both monthly active users and weekly active users soared to new highs, with 17.58 million and 12.66 million users, respectively.
The firm attributed the growth to the newcomers using the much-hyped loan transfer service. About 50 percent of Kakao Bank's housing mortgage loan balance was for refinancing purposes, and last month, this figure jumped to 67 percent.
In terms of the credit loan transfer service, in which over 50 financial institutes partake, Kakao Bank reportedly accounted for around 14 percent of the whole market share.
The net interest margin, a key barometer of profitability, stood at 2.36 percent in the fourth quarter, increasing consecutively for two terms from 2.26 percent in the second quarter to 2.31 percent in the third quarter.
The bank also noted it reached its 30 percent mid-to-low credit loans target, with the balance amounting to 4.3 trillion won as of the end of 2023, up 1.1 trillion won from the previous year.
"With the expansion in our user base, we are positioning (Kakao Bank) as a must-have everyday financial app that everyone, regardless of age and gender, uses frequently," a Kakao Bank official said, adding, "We will continue to introduce new products and services to more conveniently connect finance and daily life."
By Choi Ji-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)