Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. will increase planned cuts to its head count that will now reduce work done by the equivalent of nearly 5,000 employees over the three years to March 2020, it was learned Wednesday.

Cuts reducing head count by the equivalent of around 4,000 employees were already planned.

The megabank group hopes to streamline its business further by speeding up efforts to automate over-the-counter services, and to go paperless through the use of information technology.

The number of domestic employees is expected to fall naturally by almost 4,000 over the three years, as new hires are being curbed and many workers are set to reach the mandatory retirement age, sources said.

Financial institutions in the nation are moving to rationalize their operations as prolonged superlow interest rates hurt their business performance.

Among the other megabank groups, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. has revised up its target for workload reductions by fiscal 2023 from the equivalent of 9,500 workers to over 10,000 workers, while Mizuho Financial Group Inc. is also expected to accelerate its employee reduction efforts.

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