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Japan's biggest lender MUFG plans to slash workforce by some 15%

[TOKYO] Japanese banking giant Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group plans to shrink its domestic workforce by around 15 per cent, the firm said Tuesday, tightening payrolls as it looks to bolster profits squeezed by ultra-low interest rates.

MUFG announced it would lose some 6,000 of more than 40,000 positions in Japan by March 2024, mainly through natural attrition and greater use of technology.

Japan's lenders have seen profits squeezed after the Bank of Japan last year adopted a negative interest rate policy to work alongside its massive asset-purchase programme as part of a drive to kickstart lending and stoke inflation.

MUFG's announcement comes as its domestic rivals also attempt to streamline their operations to cushion profits.

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Many firms will naturally lose a chunk of their workforce in the coming years as the country prepares for a wave of retirements of people hired during the economic boom years of the 1980s.

In a briefing to investors, MUFG said greater use of digital technology and artificial intelligence should reduce the workload for its remaining employees.

The firm has seen customer traffic to physical bank branches steadily fall as more people use online services.

Fellow banking giant Mizuho Financial Group said earlier this month that it aimed to slash 19,000 jobs over the next decade.

Rival bank Sumitomo Mitsui also said in May it will reduce what it described as the workload equivalent of 4,000 jobs by March 2021.