The East Asia Division of Mizuho Bank’s office provides middle and back office functions for the bank’s Hong Kong offices. It is the biggest division in Hong Kong with 280 staff supporting two offices at Tsim Sha Tsui and Admiralty. “We run banking businesses like treasury, project finance, research, leveraged finance, syndication loans, transaction banking, etc., for various departments in the bank. For middle and back office functions, our scope of responsibilities include compliance, IT, office administration, banking operation, accounting, business planning, regional business strategy, human resources, risk management and many more,” says Toshiro Koroyasu, general manager of East Asia Division at Mizuho Bank.
Koroyasu joined the bank in 1989 and brought with him a wealth of international working experience, having served in the bank’s offices in Tokyo, New York and Chicago before being relocated to Hong Kong in April this year. “We aim to strengthen the flagship branch status in Asia by creating business models and serving as a knowledge sharer to provide training to other Asian branches. On the HR side, we aim to provide work-life balance for staff,” he says.
The bank offers financial services to corporate clients, but because of Japanese laws, it is not able to offer a full-scale one-stop service to clients under one roof. “In view of this, we plan to foster a closer collaboration with our sister companies to provide a one-stop financial solution for clients. The division is committed to promote the spirit of ‘One Mizuho and One Hong Kong’, building stronger ties with our two sister companies in Hong Kong: Mizuho Capital Market and Mizuho Securities Asia. Our ultimate goal is to provide a one-stop financial service to our clients together with our sister companies,” says Koroyasu.
Adding to the One Mizuho initiative, Koroyasu explains that it is a brand slogan that was released in 2013 with the aim for the bank to become the most trusted financial service group, with a global presence and a diverse customer base.
As a Japanese bank, Mizuho Bank treasures harmony, team work and continuous learning for employees. “We believe in grooming senior staff from within. Many of our management staff, including heads of departments, are promoted from junior level. We treasure pay for performance in our compensation policy. We do not promote staff according to their seniority – staff with ability will be rewarded,” says Koroyasu.
The Mizuho value covers passion, innovation, customer service, team work and speed. “Through these values, the bank employs a modern and competitive management philosophy,” says Koroyasu.
As a responsible and caring employer, Mizuho Bank is keen to offer staff training opportunities and staff get-togethers. “We run different kinds of activities for staff, like inter-department lunches, walkathons, interest classes, an annual dinner, bowling tournaments, Halloween outings, etc., to help enhance the communication among staff from different departments. We are active supporters of society; our corporate social responsibility effort includes visits to elderly homes and various types of volunteer work,” Koroyasu says.
Investing in training is something the management of the bank prioritises highly. “Our HR department runs many different kinds of workshops and seminars on a regular basis to enhance the knowledge of staff,” says Koroyasu.
He added that the bank’s global career management division in Tokyo and Singapore host various forms of training in banking knowledge and leadership for colleagues all over the world.
Taking on an overseas assignment to widen their horizon is an initiative the management of Mizuho highly encourage staff to take. “The bank offers overseas training programmes and staff exchange programmes with branches in different parts of the globe,” says Koroyasu.
As one of the three mega banks in Japan, with branches and subsidiaries all over the world, Mizuho is attractive for job seekers, Koroyasu believes. “Our products and business are very diverse. We serve many top companies in the world. Most of the reputable listed companies in Japan and Hong Kong are our clients, so staff have plenty of opportunities to handle big-name clients,” he says.
To help attract talents and give back to the community, the bank started a summer internship programme for university students in Hong Kong in 2010. “They will spend six weeks with the bank and I hope they can have a deeper understanding of the banking industry and polish their Japanese and financial knowledge during their internship,” says Koroyasu.
Koroyasu is proud to say that Mizuho Bank is an equal opportunity employer that recognises staff’s contribution, regardless of their gender. “We are one of the first Japanese companies to send female staff for overseas assignments. Many of our senior positions are filled by females, including department heads for compliance, operation, credit control, syndication loans and re-engineering,” he says.