Sumitomo Mitsui to Charge Fees on Accounts of Overseas Lenders

  • Goal is to recover costs of the BOJ's negative interest rates
  • Mitsubishi UFJ and Mizuho are considering similar steps

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. said it plans to begin recouping costs it incurs as a result of the Bank of Japan’s negative interest rate policy from foreign banks that deposit funds in its correspondent accounts.

The lender will apply the fees on some yen-denominated accounts of overseas banks with balances exceeding a certain level, Yuichiro Himuro, a spokesman for the Tokyo-based bank, said Tuesday in a telephone interview. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. are considering similar action, spokesmen for the Japanese lenders said Tuesday.

Japan’s Topix Banks index has fallen by 34 percent this year on concern interest margins will be squeezed further by the BOJ’s surprise move to impose negative interest rates on some deposits held with the central bank, to encourage lending and stimulate the economy. The country’s three largest lenders have said on a number of occasions that they are not considering introducing charges for retail or corporate customers.

Sumitomo Mitsui’s Himuro said the impact of the move would be “extremely limited” and affect a small number of accounts. Three major trust banks said last week that they are considering trust account fees for some institutional investors.

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