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Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. said Monday it plans to increase hiring by 44 percent in 2009, aiming to boost sales of investment funds and reduce dependency on part-time staff.

“We want to secure talented people to increase our competitiveness,” said Tetsu Morishima, a spokesman for the Tokyo-based bank, confirming an earlier Nikkei report that the group’s main banking unit will add 2,400 full-time employees.

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