Japan is one of several countries where the virus has made a comeback in winter months with Tokyo finding a record 2,447 cases on Jan. 7.
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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.
Concerns are mounting that some banks are too weak to withstand the coronavirus-fueled recession and may eventually need to be rescued or delisted.