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The big three move from strength to strength

18 November 2008

The big three Japanese banks – BTMU, Mizuho and SMBC – have slowly but surely built formidable trade finance departments and expertise. Michele Martensen talks to the banks and assesses where they feel they are placed as the overall market goes through a particularly tough period.

For a bank that has been operating in the trade finance space for just two years, Mizuho Corporate Bank has gone from strength to strength. While it's share of global trade and commodity finance business does not yet match the size of some of the big French, Dutch and German banks, it could – along with the other major Japanese players – find itself well placed to shore up a bigger slice of the action as more European and US institutions fall prey to the banking crisis and the ensuing cull.

That said, while Japanese financial institutions may have escaped some of the major issues hitting Western banks, it would be wrong to suggest they have or will emerge unscathed. In October, for instance, the Nikkei index plummeted to its lowest level in 26 years with financial stocks in the big three – Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation...

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