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Korean banks closing down ATMs

6South Korean banks have been closing down their ATMs, pulling out of the high-cost service to transfer resources to more promising mobile banking. The top seven commercial banks led by Shinhan Bank and Kookmin Bank ran a combined 32,256 ATMs nationwide as of September last year, down 3.6% from 33,459 at the end of 2013. The other five banks are Woori Bank, Hana Bank, Foreign Exchange Bank, Citibank Korea Inc. and Standard Chartered Bank Korea. These banks have shut the machines down in hundreds across the country during the January-September period of 2014. Shinhan got rid of 270 ATMs and Kookmin 170. Foreign banks were no different, as Citibank Korea shut down 146, and SC Bank Korea closed 338. Market watchers say that the mobile banking trend heavily affected demand for conventional banking services as a growing number of people resort to smartphones or other mobile devices instead for their financial transactions, much more convenient since they can take care of such a task at home or work without having to go to a bank or search for an ATM. According to the Bank of Korea data, local banks had 101 million registered users of their Internet banking service as of the end of third quarter last year. There were 45.6 million clients registered with their mobile-based banking services.

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