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A Survey of Studies on Financial Intermediation in Korea

  • Suk Heun Yoon Professor, School of Finance, Soongsil University
  • Rae Soo Park Professor, Division of Business Administration, Sookmyung Women’s University
In this paper, we aim to survey studies on financial intermediation in Korean financial markets with a view to understanding and evaluating the current status of financial intermediation services in Korea. Specific issues discussed include the relationship between economic growth and financial development, financial intermediation services such as liquidity provision, economizing transaction costs, production and transmission of information, monitoring, and the effects of relationship banking in Korea. We also discuss corporate restructuring driven by Korean banks as a special form of financial intermediation at the final stage of client firms’ lives, policy finance, and shadow banking which is regarded as an important factor influencing the future of financial intermediation in Korea. This survey reveals that while banks’ intermediation services are known to be special and value-additive in the US, for example, Korean studies have not shown the same. That is, research results show that banks’ intermediation services in Korea have been either insignificant or sometimes less than value-additive as benefits from intermediation services have been outweighed by associated costs. This result is partly because banks have had superior negotiation power to borrower firms in Korea, and partly because of the government’s dominating influence on bank behavior. It may also be because of sampling bias in terms of data period, as most studies use data near the 1997 financial crisis.

  • Suk Heun Yoon
  • Rae Soo Park
In this paper, we aim to survey studies on financial intermediation in Korean financial markets with a view to understanding and evaluating the current status of financial intermediation services in Korea. Specific issues discussed include the relationship between economic growth and financial development, financial intermediation services such as liquidity provision, economizing transaction costs, production and transmission of information, monitoring, and the effects of relationship banking in Korea. We also discuss corporate restructuring driven by Korean banks as a special form of financial intermediation at the final stage of client firms’ lives, policy finance, and shadow banking which is regarded as an important factor influencing the future of financial intermediation in Korea. This survey reveals that while banks’ intermediation services are known to be special and value-additive in the US, for example, Korean studies have not shown the same. That is, research results show that banks’ intermediation services in Korea have been either insignificant or sometimes less than value-additive as benefits from intermediation services have been outweighed by associated costs. This result is partly because banks have had superior negotiation power to borrower firms in Korea, and partly because of the government’s dominating influence on bank behavior. It may also be because of sampling bias in terms of data period, as most studies use data near the 1997 financial crisis.
Financial Intermediation Services; Relationship Banking; Corporate Restructuring; Policy Finance; and the Korean Financial System