Kookmin Bank Co. Ltd. reportedly plans to spin off its credit card unit.

The Korea Herald reports that KB Financial Group, the bank’s holding company, will hold a board meeting Sept. 28 to weigh a plan in which it would create a separate KB Card unit to better compete with market leaders Shinhan Card Co. Ltd. and Samsung Card Co. Ltd.

Such a decision would represent a U-turn for Kookmin, which during the country’s 2002-03 credit card crisis took over the card issuer, which at the time was called Kookmin Credit Card Co. Ltd. It was an independent unit alongside Kookmin Bank at that time, under the KB Financial Group.

KB Financial plans to spin off the card unit by February after going through regulatory approvals, according to The Korea Herald.

The bank did not respond to PaymentsSource requests for comment.

Kookmin also reportedly may transfer about 1,000 of its staffers to KB Card during the fourth quarter. After the spin-off, the card unit would still use the bank’s sales and distribution channel of 1,200 branches across the country.

The South Korean card market has been active this year. In August, for example, Shinhan Card announced plans to sell a 14.9% stake in BC Card Co. Ltd. to the country’s second-largest mobile carrier KT Corp (see story). 

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