Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) is the holding company for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking, which is one of Japan's largest banks (along with Mitsubishi UFJ and Mizuho). The bank's operations include retail, corporate, and investment banking; asset management; securities trading; and lending. Sumitomo Mitsui Banking has some 500 domestic branches and another 20 branches abroad. Other units of SMFG include credit card company Sumitomo Mitsui Card, brokerage SMBC Friend Securities, management consulting firm Japan Research Institute, and Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing. In the US it operates the California-based Manufacturers Bank. SMFG listed its shares on the NYSE in late 2010.
The NYSE listing was timed to help SMFG in its efforts to become a leading global financial group. The group operates in more than 50 countries; its targeted areas of growth include Asia/Pacific nations with emerging and developing economies (such as Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Thailand). It is also establishing trading and securities offices in the US and the UK.
The company has also been aggressively pursuing opportunities in the financing industry. In 2009 it combined three of its credit card units -- OMC Card, Central Finance, and QUOQ -- into one, Cedyna Financial, to operate along with Sumitomo Mitsui Card. The move cuts overhead costs, helping SMFG meet its goal of becoming the nation's largest credit card company. Also that year, it acquired a 51% stake in Orix Credit Corporation, a consumer lending unit of ORIX. In late 2011 its auto service unit bought a 49% stake of Hitachi subsidiary Hitachi Capital Auto Lease.
SMFG acquired Nikko Cordial Securities and other assets of Nikko Citi Holdings in Japan from Citigroup in another 2009 deal. On the heels of that deal, SMFG and Daiwa Securities Group terminated their Daiwa Securities SMBC joint venture. Citing differences of opinion in strategy, SMFG sold its 40% stake in the investment bank. The following year, SMFG and Daiwa dismantled their Daiwa SB Investments asset management venture. The two companies remain open to possible future partnerships. – less