Cheque mate! Korean bank sends singles on blind date

SEOUL Tue Feb 20, 2007 8:25am EST

SEOUL (Reuters) - A top South Korean bank is sending a group of its single female employees on a blind date trip to North Korea, hoping that romance will make them happy at the office, an official said Tuesday.

Hana Bank is trying to fix up 20 of its employees between the ages of 29 and 33 with 20 single South Korean men selected by a top matchmaking agency in the country, an official said.

"This trip will offer them a chance to easily meet men," said Yang Jae-hyeok in charge of the bank's division offering life services for employees.

"As our bank tries to help our employees balance their work and personal lives, we are putting more effort into improving their personal life," Yang said.

Hana Bank will pay half the fare for its employees for the two-day trip this weekend to a mountain resort in North Korea run by an affiliate of the South's Hyundai Group, which more than a million South Koreans have already visited.

Hana, a main unit of the country's No. 4 banking group Hana Financial Group, two years ago set up what it calls a "full life service" for its employees that includes subsidizing employees who enroll with matchmaking services.

It plans to offer more subsidized blind date trips for its single employees, Yang said.

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