New digital bank accounts with the internet conglomerate better known for its online shopping services expanded by 20% last year, and recently topped 10 million.
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As banks move toward digitalization, the pandemic has added an incentive for consumers and merchants to avoid touching physical money.
Japan’s biggest bank has been aggressively expanding in Asia, where it has spent about $15 billion buying stakes in lenders in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.
The plans underscore how the bank is looking beyond the current dip to grow abroad, with low interest rates and a graying population hampering prospects at home.
Having already divested trillions of yen under pressure from regulators and investors, megabanks are now down to a clutch of firms that are resistant to stake sales.
Any moderation of bad-loan charges would mirror a trend seen around the world this earnings season, after banks from Singapore to the U.S. kept defaults at bay.
The new business is being made possible by deregulation aimed at shoring up the country’s struggling banking industry.
Contrary to other financial institutions, the mega-bank says productivity hasn’t suffered while employees have been working remotely.
The total lent so far is already more than four times the amount deployed from January 2009 to support firms during the global financial crisis.
Hironori Kamezawa, 58, say the digital shift has picked up pace in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic.