Euromoney, December 10 2020
This is part of the Euromoney 25 Series
In global terms, Japan has had a complicated pandemic.
It was one of the first countries to be hit, one of the first to recover, one of the nations that has faced the most waves, but one where culture has been particularly relevant.
On one hand, it has long been quite normal for people to wear face-masks in Japan; on the other, there are few societies where working from home is less accepted.
As Japan’s biggest and most systemically important bank, MUFG is a barometer for the impact of Covid on the country’s financial system. In April 2020, 70% of the bank’s Japanese staff worked from home, an unprecedented level. Today the figure is around 50%, compared with 80% to 90% of its staff in the US and Europe.
The bank has reported a 30% year-on-year increase in the use of non-face-to-face channels, which has to be a good thing in a country that has tended to resist digital and stuck doggedly to cash, ATMs and branches.
Asked about MUFG’s response to Covid, Takayoshi Futae, chief executive officer of the global commercial banking business unit and chief operating officer for international businesses, highlights lending and social responsibility. So far, the bank has issued around ¥5 trillion ($48 billion) in new lending related to the pandemic.
“And if you include things like commitment lines, we are providing over ¥15 trillion in capital support domestically and overseas,” he says.
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