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The Korea Herald
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THE INVESTOR
April 24, 2024

Market Now

Banks' working hours to return to normal

  • PUBLISHED :January 30, 2023 - 08:39
  • UPDATED :January 30, 2023 - 08:39
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An announceament attached at a bank in Seoul reads it will change its operating hours, Sunday. (Yonhap)

With the Korean government lifting the indoor mask mandate, major banks are to normalize their operating hours to 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Monday.

Major commercial banks, including KB Kookmin Bank, Shinhan Bank, Hana Bank, Woori Bank and NH NongHyup, are to normalize their operating hours from the current 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. as the government has lifted the indoor mask mandate, one of the last remaining pandemic restrictions. Major savings banks have also joined the move.

Banks have previously cited the mask mandate as grounds for maintaining shortened operating hours. Local banks shortened their business hours by an hour in mid-2021 after the government tightened social distancing rules during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying they will cooperate with the disinfection authorities' guideline to decrease in-person contacts.

In October 2021, the bank management and union agreed to maintain the shortened service hours until the government fully lifts the pandemic restrictions.

With the prolonged shortened service time causing inconvenience for the larger public, Korea’s financial regulators have called out for the banks to return to normalized service hours in recent months.

Though the management and labor launched a joint task force team to discuss the matter, they were not able to reach a consensus.

As the government announced to lift the mask mandate, the management decided to normalize the service hours though it was unable to reach an agreement with the union.

The union warned it will take legal action against the management for normalizing service hours without an agreement.

“The majority of people will not be able to understand why the union is opposed to normalizing the service hours that had been shortened due to the pandemic,” Lee Bok-hyun, head of Financial Supervisory Service, said at a meeting held Thursday.

“We would have to look at whether it is appropriate for (the union) to oppose the management’s decision, which was made based on legal grounds,” Lee said. "The government and the financial authorities are willing to take strong action against those who express themselves in illegal forms against measures that are rightfully based on the law."

With the Korean government lifting the indoor mask mandate, major banks are to normalize their operating hours to 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Monday.

Major commercial banks, including KB Kookmin Bank, Shinhan Bank, Hana Bank, Woori Bank and NH NongHyup, are to normalize their operating hours from the current 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. as the government has lifted the indoor mask mandate, one of the last remaining pandemic restrictions. Major savings banks have also joined the move.

Banks have previously cited the mask mandate as grounds for maintaining shortened operating hours. Local banks shortened their business hours by an hour in mid-2021 after the government tightened social distancing rules during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying they will cooperate with the disinfection authorities' guideline to decrease in-person contacts.

In October 2021, the bank management and union agreed to maintain the shortened service hours until the government fully lifts the pandemic restrictions.

With the prolonged shortened service time causing inconvenience for the larger public, Korea’s financial regulators have called out for the banks to return to normalized service hours in recent months.

Though the management and labor launched a joint task force team to discuss the matter, they were not able to reach a consensus.

As the government announced to lift the mask mandate, the management decided to normalize the service hours though it was unable to reach an agreement with the union.

The union warned it will take legal action against the management for normalizing service hours without an agreement.

“The majority of people will not be able to understand why the union is opposed to normalizing the service hours that had been shortened due to the pandemic,” Lee Bok-hyun, head of Financial Supervisory Service, said at a meeting held Thursday.

“We would have to look at whether it is appropriate for (the union) to oppose the management’s decision, which was made based on legal grounds,” Lee said. "The government and the financial authorities are willing to take strong action against those who express themselves in illegal forms against measures that are rightfully based on the law."

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)

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