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Setting up a non-resident bank account in Korea, was it this inefficient and difficult?; Jz Did It!


For more details, please feel free to reach out at jz@taxjz.com or If you would like a consultation with an English-speaking Consultant/Accountant in Korea, please schedule a call at: Schedule a Call with Jz


As a non-resident (American, individual) who is one of my clients looking to bring in funds domestically for the exercise of stock options in a listed company, I visited commercial banks. Before visiting, I contacted 2-3 bank branches to inquire about the possibility of opening an account, but all eventually gave up (rejected?). An old bank connection, a branch in Gangnam, showed a positive response, so I received a notarized and apostilled power of attorney from the US via DHL, and finally submitted the application around 2:30 PM at the bank. The power of attorney was pre-reviewed by the bank officer in charge, so there were no issues with the process, and I waited about 1 hour and 10 minutes to receive the bank book. During this time, our Ms. Kim XX, the associate, did nothing else but fill in the blanks on the forms for this 70 minutes. Occasionally, he would ask for the agent's name and signature and mark a tiny box...


Although the original power of attorney with notarization and apostille was submitted, all other required documents (such as passport and my Korean ID) were copies. Going through this process made me feel like banks in South Korea are as alienated from digitization and online integration as the judiciary or as if they are living like aliens (Japanese?) who ignore the flow of the world. I doubt whether this kind of administrative procedure is correct, whether it's really for the anti-money laundering laws they speak of or if it's just a ploy to find loopholes (to escape scrutiny), or if they complicate administrative work to keep bank employees' jobs more complex.

I can't understand why they create such archaic, inefficient, bizarre forms and procedures that increase the financial costs for banks and torment both citizens and foreign investors. Banks were one of the best jobs in the 1980s, sweeping up all the smart talent, but nearly half a century later, they have shown no sign of progress. Jz has been learning and experiencing bank work thoroughly from the position of an underling since 1981. The only development has been shifting from stamping and signing on paper forms to saving forms on tablet PCs for electronic signatures.

The Financial Supervisory Service, Bank of Korea, and government authorities should reflect on what they have done in front of Korea's economic development and strive humbly with our young talents to provide foreign investors and citizens with affordable financial costs and prompt services. Our financial system should allow everyone in the world to open all kinds of financial accounts, including securities accounts, online. If this happens, Jz might lose his job, but Korea could be reborn as the sole financial hub in Far-east Asia.


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