Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group is on the hunt for bankers in the U.S., looking past the recent turmoil and concerns about an economic slowdown to accelerate its North American expansion plans.

The newly appointed head of the firm’s core banking unit says the downturn in the global economy will help it attract talent as it seeks to boost areas like sales and trading. Japan’s second-largest bank is also studying requirements to become a U.S. primary dealer, the select group that bids at Treasury bond auctions.

"We want to invest more to expand in the U.S.,” Akihiro Fukutome, who became CEO of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. this month, said in an interview. "The U.S. is the biggest single market and still growing.”