Sanwa Bank
Euromoney Limited, Registered in England & Wales, Company number 15236090
4 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX
Copyright © Euromoney Limited 2024
Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

Sanwa Bank

Time to build a banking empire

Branches in Asia: 21 (excluding Japan)
Present in: 12 countries

Asian loan book: $17.7 billion

With assets of over $5 trillion, Japan's banking system dwarfs that of the rest of Asia. But it is a sign of the country's insularity ­ and the problems of its banking sector ­ that none of its banks is a major pan-Asian player. The one that comes closest may be Sanwa Bank, which owns stakes in several banks in south-east Asia, but Asia outside Japan contributes only about 3% to its total profits.

The bank's 1998 annual report states: "In the next 20 years we hope and plan to be dominant in Asia." But the focus of Sanwa's strategy in Asia seems to be to support Japanese industry rather than to build a world-class financial institution capable of winning business from multinationals of any nationality.

And it may have to limit its international ambitions in the immediate future. "We believe that Sanwa Bank, like most other Japanese banks, will be forced to retrench rather than expand in Asia over the next several years," says Ramos at Goldman Sachs. "Problems back home and massive non-performing loans, both domestically and throughout Asia, will more than overcome any desire to expand in Asia."

Gift this article