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Sumitomo Mitsui Financial eyes Asia’s non-banking retail markets

Japan-based Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) is gearing up to boost its presence in the Asia Pacific region through its non-banking segments such as consumer finance and credit.

SMFG president Koichi Miyata was quoted by Reuters as saying that the company plans to explore in sales finance for cars, air conditioners and TVs in Southeast Asia. "It does not have to be (done by our core bank) SMBC. We can use a vehicle best suited for the purpose," he told the news agency.

Japanese financial firms have been looking at other growing Asian markets due to sluggish growth in the domestic economy, which left several troubled European competitors to depart from the market.

Exploring beyond corporate finance, the bank intends to focus on full-fledged retail operations in Asia’s emerging economies.

International activities of Japanese banks have traditionally been restricted to only corporate finance; on the other hand, retail businesses continue to remain a challenge owing to their lack of branch networks outside the country.

SMFG’s consumer finance unit Promise offers unsecured loans to retail customers, and trades in Hong Kong, mainland China, Thailand and Japan.