Citibank Officials Stand out in Local Banking Community. @in Keeping with the Advent of the Internationalization Era, Bankers Coming from Citibank, a Global Comprehensive Financing Group in the United States, Have Been Standing out in the Korean Banking Industry

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If Ha Yung-ku, 48, country business manager of Citibank Korea, takes office as president of KorAm Bank, he will become the youngest bank president in Korea.

Seoul Bank president Kang Chung-won currently holds the record, having taken up the commercial bank's top post last year at the age of 50.

Born in Kwangyang, South Cholla Province, Ha graduated from the economics department of Seoul National University and the Graduate School of Northwestern University in the United States. In 1981, he joined Citibank in Seoul and served in the corporate banking and consumer banking divisions.

Since 1998, when Ha was the first Korean promoted to become a representative of the consumer banking division, he has risen to prominence, succeeding in shifting the deficit-ridden consumer banking business into surplus. Citibank Korea has two large business divisions -- corporate and consumer banking.

Ha used aggressive marketing strategies and succeeded in luring cash-laden investors in the middle- or higher-income brackets, Citibank officials said.

The bank started to sell beneficiary certificates to general customers in February 1999, departing from the practice of focusing on corporate customers. In February this year, it also introduced a collateralized housing loan system carrying an exceptionally low interest rate.

``Ha changed the marketing strategy so that that Citibank officials visit wealthy customers, rather than waiting for such customers to visit the bank,'' a Citibank official said.

Thanks to his marketing strategies, the number of Citibank branches for consumer banking in Korea increased from two in 1986 to the present 12.

Ha also gained a good reputation within Citibank with the introduction of powerful management renovation programs and various cost-saving steps, including the implementation of an early retirement system, banking analysts said.

Kang Chung-won, who served as a representative of Deutsche Bank before becoming president of Seoul Bank, had worked at Citibank in the latter half of 1970s.

The 51-year-old vice president of Seoul Bank, Chang Hyung-duk, also worked in the personnel and business departments of Citibank's Seoul branch for 25 years since 1976 before moving to the Korean commercial bank.

Min Euoo-jung, 47, vice chairman of Woori Finance Holdings Co., also served at Citibank branches in Seoul and New York for about 10 years before becoming president of securities firm Salomon Smith Barney. …