My New Job - Helping You With Your Banking in Korea

by Michelle Farnsworth - Foreign Client Relationship Manager, Shinhan Bank Seoul Global Center, 07/02/2011

As you may already have discovered, banking in Korea can be a frustrating experience for foreign residents, and it is not always just a language issue – it can also be an issue of attitude, culture, as well as interpretation and application of policies. Luckily for Seoul’s foreign community, in March 2010, Shinhan Bank opened the Shinhan Bank Seoul Global Center - the only branch in Korea that is totally dedicated exclusively to serving foreign nationals and foreign companies. This is where I work. I have been living and working in Korea for 8 years and am the newly-appointed Foreign Client Relationship Manager at the Shinhan Bank Seoul Global Center.

People often wonder what I actually do at our branch. I am responsible for taking care of our foreign clients, preparing English product and marketing materials, developing and implementing the branch’s marketing campaign, organizing events at the center, attending events on behalf of the center, writing a monthly banking advice column and ensuring that the English-speaking Korean staff meet our service standards. Basically, I am available on the premises to make sure we actually provide the level of service that we promise!

Being a long-term expat myself, I can contribute a lot from my own experience as well as the experiences of all the people I meet who are very happy to share! So I know what we need, and I push to make sure that is what we are delivering.

Another important part of my job is educating our foreign clients about their rights and options. Foreigners here often don’t realize just how many options they have in Korea. You don’t have to either just keep your money in your low-interest earning bank account or send it home. You can invest in funds. You can set up an automatic withdrawal system so that a portion of your paycheck is invested each month. You can manage up to 21 foreign currencies in one savings account. You can get an international credit card with discounts and rewards. You can send money overseas 24 hours a day online. There are so many options available to us here!

One initiative that I am really proud of is the “Shinhan Bank Seoul Global Center” Facebook page that we created in order to have more direct and immediate communication with customers and potential customers. With already more than 2,000 fans (and growing everyday!), it is clear that foreigners in Korea appreciate that there is finally a bank in Korea that listens and takes the time to give unambiguous answers to their banking inquiries.

We really aim to be a transparent and reliable resource for international residents here; we know the Korean government’s banking regulations, we know Shinhan Bank’s regulations, and we know how they affect foreign nationals and how we can work within these regulations to give our customers dedicated service and access to the banking products they need. Stop in and see us sometime!

For more information on some of the services we offer as well as directions to our branch  (in English and Korean), see our listing in the K4E Directory.   You can also reach me at 

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