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13 April


Big Japanese banks cut jobs

It is employing robotic process automation to perform routine tasks

Photo: Nikkei

/NOVOSTIVL/ MUFG Bank, one of Japan's largest lenders, plans to take on just 530 new graduates in 2020, 45% less than this year, joining peers that are cutting back drastically on new hires in a shift to automated branches that do not require tellers. This article appeared in the Nikkei Asian Review.

The core unit of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group initially considered a 30% cut to new recruits fresh out of school, but now expects structural reforms governing branches and personnel assignments to advance at a faster pace.

Under the overhaul plan released last May, MUFG will halve the number of branches with tellers by fiscal 2023 from 515 at present. Attrition will remove 6,500 positions, while the reforms call for cutting an additional 3,000 jobs. The bank may add to that figure further.

MUFG is employing robotic process automation to perform routine tasks with fewer employees. The bank is moving to lower overhead costs as rock-bottom interest rates create a merciless business climate for lenders.

The banking industry also has to contend with declining interest in finance as a career among young people. Asked about the decreasing popularity of banking professions, Makoto Takashima, chairman of the Japanese Bankers Association, said the trade group "takes it to heart."