RETAIL BANKING | Staff Reporter, Japan

Japanese banks jumpstart SEA expansion in bid for survival

Juroku Bank and Ashikaga Bank opened a Hanoi and Bangkok unit.

Japanese banks have been stepping up their Southeast Asian expansion plans in recent months as lenders clutch at whatever growth prospects available in light of weak market conditions in their home turf, reports The Japan News. 

Also read: Japanese banks hit by lower net interest income as loan demand dwindles

Juroku Bank and Ashikaga Bank have both opened representative offices in Hanoi and Vietnam respectively in recent months.

Bank of Fukuoka has forged business partnerships with CIMB Niaga of Indonesia and BDO in March whilst Resona has tied up with Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam in July.

Bigger players like MUFG have also been working overtime with purchases and investment in local banks in Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam since 2012. It also agreed to invest in Bank Danamon Indonesia in December 2017 and will also establish a full-fledged subsidiary in Riyadh by October.

The move comes as lenders grapple with less-than-ideal market conditions brought about by ultra low interest rates making it doubly hard to eke out profits from loans.

Also read: Staggering costs prompt Japanese banks to shut branches down

“Falling loan demand and a shift toward lower-risk deposits are pressuring the profitability and growth prospects of banks,” credit rating agency Moody’s said in an earlier report. “And faced with ultralow interest rates, both banks and insurers continue to seek opportunities for growth abroad."

Photo from Morio - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

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