1989: Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde (CARIPLO) representative office opened in Seoul.
1991: Banca Commerciale Italiana (BCI) representative office opened in Seoul.
1993: Banco di Napoli (BN) representative office opened in Seoul.
1995: BN representative office in Seoul closed.
The first Italian bank to arrive in South Korea was Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde (CARIPLO), following the bank's 1988 decision to open a representative office in Seoul.
Following the end of the Korean War and the 1961 seizure of power by General Park Chung-hee, who would go on to become the country's president, South Korea enacted a series of export-oriented reforms that profoundly altered the country's economy, which had formerly been almost entirely agriculture-based. Six five-year plans led the country into a new phase of industrialization and economic development, laying the groundwork for the foundation and growth of large commercial and industrial conglomerates analogous to Japanese zaibatsu, and for the transition to a capital-intensive industrial structure.
Although the country's principal trade relations at the time were those with the United States and Japan, with Italy accounting for just a little over 2% of the total, many Italian companies - including Alitalia, Benetton Spa, Incomarbo, Olivetti and Montedison - already had a direct presence on the South Korean market or acted through agents and representatives; there were also numerous cooperation agreements and bilateral cooperation negotiations.
In order to strengthen its existing relations, to cultivate new ones, and to boost its share of the country's trade exchanges, in July 1991 Banca Commerciale Italiana decided to open a representative office alongside its correspondent bank network.
In 1993 Banco di Napoli, too, established a presence in Seoul, but the office was closed in 1995 in accordance with the bank's restructuring and recovery plan, which called for the downsizing of its foreign operations.