BTMU eyes halving core branches by end of FY23

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The Yomiuri Shimbun The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ is considering halving its about 500 branches offering full banking services, such as money transfers conducted at bank counters and asset management consultations, by the end of fiscal 2023, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

Mizuho Financial Group Inc. is also considering a plan to convert about half of its 800 existing branches across Japan into smaller branches. Bank branches are going through major changes, as banks try to overcome a severe business environment.

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ plans to split its branches into three types. About 250 locations offering full banking services will be designated as regional core branches, with a combined 120 branches either specializing in consultations and sales activities, or being fully automated and equipped with new types of automated teller machines and video conferencing devices. The bank plans to cut about 130 to 140 branches by closing or merging existing locations.

Money transfers and other services currently handled at service counters will be handled by new types of ATMs that have already been introduced at some branches from this spring.

Customers also will be able to pay taxes, public utility charges and other bills at these ATMs. This will spare customers the time and effort required to fill out necessary forms and documents. The new ATMs will be installed at about 100 branches before the end of the year.

The bank plans to reduce personnel costs by automating more of its services through the increased use of video conferencing equipment for consultations on and the acceptance of home loans and inheritances. Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ plans to install this equipment in all branches by the end of the next fiscal year.

By introducing these new machines and taking other steps, the bank plans to halve the number of transactions processed by tellers at counters by the end of fiscal 2023. Some bank personnel will be reassigned to provide consultation services on asset management and other matters.

Meanwhile, Mizuho Financial Group is considering cutting about 19,000 jobs over the next 10 years. It is also mulling a plan under which about 400 out of Mizuho’s about 800 branches across Japan would change to smaller branches providing a narrower range of services, such as handling only consultation services aimed at individual customers.

Moreover, it will expand the number of “integrated branches” at which customers can use all the services of banks, trust banks and securities firms under the Mizuho umbrella.

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. plans to invest ¥50 billion over the next three years to advance paperless banking operations at all branches and to expand spaces set aside for consultation services.

The number of customers visiting bank branches is declining, due to reasons including the growing use of internet banking.Speech

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