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“PeopleFund’s Kim: “We disrupted Korea’s lending market from within”
Joey Kim, founder and CEO of PeopleFund, reveals South Korea’s current lending market and how they disrupted the status quo with their unique business model

August 02, 2019 | Emmanuel Daniel
  • Strict regulations in Korea presented a serious challenge in establishing PeopleFund
  • PeopleFund’s tech-driven platform is the first in Korea to fully integrate with a commercial bank to process consumer loans securely
  • The tier-two market, or people capable of paying back loans, but was not approved by banks, became the primary market of PeopleFund.

PeopleFund, a marketplace lending platform founded in 2015 in Seoul, South Korea, is the first and currently the only peer-to-peer lender in the country that is fully integrated with a commercial bank. It is also the first to offer investment products directly on Kakao's messaging app, after their partnership with KakaoPay in 2018.

In an interview with Emmanuel Daniel, chairman of The Asian Banker, PeopleFund founder and CEO Joey Kim, describes his company’s beginnings and how their operating model came to be.


Joey Kim: We work with JB Financial Group. Their assets under management (AUM) is about $50 billion. We have a bank that’s actually working as a landing vehicle for us. So when the customer comes to us, we review their loan, their application, and we give them a rate. If the customer likes it, he applies for it. Then what we do is we take that information, and with our rate, we give it to the bank and they do the final verification. They take that loan and then they give the loan to the person, but they give the money to give to the borrower. What they do is they ask us to raise the money for that loan. So we raise the money from investors, from lenders. Then the bank takes that money and gives it to the borrower.

Emmanuel Daniel: That’s expensive. So the bank gets a cut. You get a cut.

Kim: So the bank doesn’t really get a cut. They get to very thin ...

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Keywords: Fintech, Peer-to-Peer, Money-transfer, Mortgage