• Kyodo

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Sanwa Bank consolidated its overseas interbank foreign exchange trading operations, including those in London and New York, into its Singapore branch at the start of this month, bank officials said Tuesday.

The move is designed to improve the efficiency of its foreign exchange businesses, as their profitability has deteriorated amid intensified competition with rival banks.

Two major overseas bases — London and New York — will only act as agents for their clients, which include overseas affiliates of Japanese companies, in currency exchanges, they said.

Several employees supporting overseas foreign exchange operations will remain at the Tokyo headquarters. But Sanwa is considering having the Singapore branch absorb them in the future.

The bank meanwhile plans to set up a new customer service window at its Tokyo headquarters to accept foreign exchange orders 24 hours a day, the officials said.

Sanwa has cut its foreign exchange operations in Europe and the United States, pulling out of currency transactions on its own account in New York last autumn.

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