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AwardsBest Bank Awards

Japan's best domestic bank 2020: MUFG Bank

MUFG Bank

It’s oddly fitting that MUFG Bank would pick a former high school rowing star for its new CEO. Those skills will come in handy considering the rough seas Japan’s financial system will have to navigate in 2021.

At 55, Junichi Hanzawa will cut a youthful figure in seniority-obsessed Japan, particularly in megabank circles. He personifies Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group’s growing commitment to nurturing and promoting younger talent as it seeks to raise its game in Asia’s second-biggest economy. Hanzawa moved ahead of 13 higher-ranking executives, while Kanetsugu Mike becomes banking group chairman.

They will need to impress. The Covid-19 pandemic has slammed global growth and sunk asset markets everywhere. Like Japan Inc. broadly speaking, MUFG had a tough time in 2020. In November, Japan’s largest bank by assets reported a 34% drop in half-year net profit as the coronavirus crisis led to a jump in credit-related costs.

Net profits between April and September rolled in at ¥400.8 billion ($3.87 billion), compared to ¥607 billion ($5.6 billion) a year earlier. Even so, MUFG still expects to meet its annual profit goals thanks to progress in keeping bad-loans costs in check.

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