Mizuho ponders layoffs as novel technology advances

Maria Nikolova

Mizuho joins a growing list of financial institutions streamlining their workforce to reflect the growing use of novel technologies.

As fintech continues to develop and take over more roles in the financial services sector, certain human jobs are under increased risk. The latest piece of proof comes from Mizuho Financial Group, Inc.(TYO:8411) which is about to cut as many 19,000 jobs from a total of 60,000 over the next 10 years. The information was provided by the Japan Times, referring to a source familiar with the matter.

The move is seen to reflect the low interest rates and the overall streamlining of operations at the bank due to the increased adoption of novel information technology solutions.

Last month, for instance, SoftBank Group Corp (TYO:9984) and Mizuho Bank announced the launch of their joint venture J.Score that harnesses the artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to offer loans tailored to the specific needs and life style of each consumer.

The plans of Mizuho concerning its human workforce are in tune with those unveiled by another Japanese banking giant – Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc (TYO:8306), in September this year. MUFG’s President Nobuyuki Hirano said back then 9,500 jobs will be automated in Japan. These jobs account for about 30% of the headcount nationwide at MUFG’s main subsidiary, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

MUFG’s decision was dubbed as an effort to boost productivity. Mr Hirano emphasized that the company will move employees who have been engaged in relatively simple work into more creative roles through retraining and other measures.

Japan is not the single market affected by such moves. Last week, Nordea Bank AB (STO:NDA-SEK) reiterated its commitment to the use of AI solutions in its operations, but its business evolution will be accompanied by human staff reduction. Casper von Koskull, President and Group CEO, said Nordea was almost two years into a transformation shift and that it was time to enter the next phase of the transformation, involving bringing down costs and increasing efficiency.

“This transformation requires a shift in competence among our employees. Additionally, in order to secure long-term competitiveness, we also plan to reduce the number of employees and consultants with at least 6,000 of which approximately 2,000 are consultants”, Casper von Koskull said.

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