non-bank lender-household loans

SEOUL, March 18 (Yonhap) -- Household loans extended by non-bank financial institutions in South Korea have surged in the past few years as low-credit borrowers scurried to seek loans from such lenders that do less tight credit evaluations, data showed Monday.

The outstanding amount of household loans extended by non-banking firms reached 192.4 trillion won (US$173.3 billion) at the end of January, up 74 percent from 110.4 trillion won tallied in 2007, according to the data by the Bank of Korea (BOK).

The tally is in stark contrast to the growth of household loans in all depository banks here, which increased 38.4 percent to 656.2 trillion won over the cited period, the data showed.

The proportion of household loans extended by non-banking firms thus has risen to 29.3 percent as of end-January, from 23.3 percent in 2007.

The surge came as borrowers in the low-credit group have turned to non-banking firms such as savings banks and mutual financing companies to borrow money since it has become harder for them to take out loans from local banks.

South Korean banks have tightened household lending, following instructions from local financial authorities, which have put the utmost policy focus on curbing the country's household indebtedness.

As of December last year, South Korea's household credit reached another record 959.4 trillion won, amid concerns that such a high level of household debt would hinder the overall economic growth.

Household lending by Community Credit Cooperative, a major local mutual financing firm, increased by the most, hiking 132.1 percent to 37.1 trillion won from 16.01 trillion won in the same period, the BOK data showed. Savings banks saw their household lending grow 36.7 percent to 9.25 trillion won over the cited years.

Non-banking firms' mortgage lending also surged 82.3 percent to 85.7 trillion won from 2007 till January 2013, compared with a 28.6 percent growth to 316.2 trillion won for banks, according to the data.

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