Nonghyup Bank (NH농협은행) is an agricultural bank owned by NAFC(농업협동조합중앙회, Also known as 농협중앙회). We also added information about local agricultural cooperatives(지역 농축협조합, "local cooperative") on this page. For the Japanese people, the bank is similar to JA Bank(JAバンク).
The basic purpose of this bank is to support farmers. You can see different shops with NH logo in Korea. NH-OIL(농협주유소, NH petrol station) is founded to provide tax-free oil to farmers(but you don't need to be a farmer to buy taxable oil from NH-OIL). Hanaro mart(or Hanaro club) is also a specialised hypermarket for agricultural products. The local cooperatives open their own shop to sell their specialities.
NH has about 5,000 branches around the country. So even if you travel in a Korean village, you'll easily find a branch. It's because they merged with Livestock cooperatives(축산업협동조합, aka 축협) and Ginseng cooperatives(인삼협동조합, aka 인삼협) in 2000.
The NAFC is owning and operating its own university in Korea, named "농협대학교"(Agricultural Cooperative University).
Before you visit this bank
As mentioned above, they have a lot of branches, but you must notice that those 5,000 branches are NOT operated by a single institution. In fact, NH Bank(농협은행) has over 1,000 branches around the country, and the rest of them are branches of local cooperatives(지역 농축협조합). Local cooperatives provide banking services like NH bank as well, but basically, local cooperatives are NOT a bank. And most of all, they sell different financial products. For example, Magic Tree(매직트리) account plan, which provides unlimited free online money transfer, is not available in local cooperatives. Also, their personal loans come with higher interest and more impact on your credit score, compared to NH Bank.
There are differences in their banking services. For instance, you can buy funds, open a housing subscription deposit account and receive the Lotto winning prize in NH banks, but you can't in local cooperatives. On the other hand, you can't become a member of a cooperative or open tax-free savings account at NH Bank. Also, some certain services will work differently in those institutions.
You can apply for all NH credit/check cards(except online application only cards) in both institutions. But once you get an NH 채움 card from NH Bank, you can't apply for additional 채움 cards in local cooperatives and vice versa, but you can apply for an NH BC card in that case.
For foreigners, opening an account at NH Bank will be better because you'll be able to get a full foreign exchange service from them.
To find if a branch is from NH Bank or a local cooperative, you can easily get it by reading its sign.
If there's '은행'(Bank) in the sign, it means it's an NH Bank branch. If you can't find it, it's a local cooperative branch. So the first one is from NH Bank, the second one is from a local cooperative, so-called '지도농협'.
If you wonder your account is from NH Bank or a local cooperative, you can check it here
About card products of NH
Lots of their credit/check cards provide point rewards or cash back benefits without a spending requirement. But reward rates are pretty small, compared to cards from other banks or companies.
If you're a farmer and you operate farming equipment, you'll need to apply for a check or credit card for tax-free oil purchases in a local cooperative.
I recommend this bank to you because ...
- The most farmer friendly bank
- Lots of Lots of branches all around the country that you can easily find one in a village.
But you must consider these before banking with this bank ...