Japanese megabanks intensify focus on U.S. market amid profit growth prospects

Japanese megabanks, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, and Mizuho Financial Group, are strategically expanding in the U.S., eyeing high profit margins.

Japanese megabank groups, including Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc., Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. (SMBC), and Mizuho Financial Group, Inc., are strategically expanding their foothold in the United States, driven by the promise of lucrative margins and substantial profit growth, contrasting the low-interest rate environment in Japan.

Despite economic uncertainties in the U.S., these megabanks are ramping up efforts to bolster their operations in the country. Notably, SMBC made waves last summer with the launch of Jenius Bank, a digital banking venture in the U.S., marking a rare move for a Japanese bank to offer retail financial services overseas.

Jenius Bank’s online platform enables cost-effective expansion of customer reach through savings deposits and loan services, with plans to delve into ordinary deposit and credit card businesses. Osamu Yagi, overseeing SMBC’s U.S. strategies, underscores the potential for substantial profits in the U.S. market, aiming to cater services closely aligned with customer needs.

The consolidated net profits of the three megabank groups surpassed ¥3 trillion for the first time, propelled by robust performances in the U.S. and other international markets. Outstanding loans in the U.S. surged to ¥36.2 trillion, indicating a steady uptick for the third consecutive year, buoyed by interest rate profit margins exceeding 1%, contrasting with Japan’s 0.6%.

Efforts to redirect funds overseas, coupled with efficiency enhancements such as branch consolidations in Japan, have contributed to the megabanks’ success. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group’s strategic investment in U.S. Bancorp and Mizuho’s acquisition of Greenhill & Co. exemplify proactive moves to expand their U.S. presence.

Mizuho’s entry into the top 10 global investment banking fees rankings underscores the success of its investment banking focus, further propelled by the acquisition of Greenhill. Mizuho President Masahiro Kihara anticipates strengthened synergies in the coming year, signalling sustained growth momentum in the U.S. market.

The intensified focus of Japanese megabanks on the U.S. market underscores their commitment to capitalizing on lucrative opportunities abroad amid evolving global financial landscapes.