3 top execs at Mizuho Bank group to resign next spring over system failures

Mizuho Financial Group Inc. chairman and president as well as the head of its banking unit will resign next spring following a series of system failures that have hurt public confidence in one of Japan’s major financial institutions, sources with knowledge of the plan said Thursday.

The departure of the three — Mizuho Financial Chairman Yasuhiro Sato, President Tatsufumi Sakai and Mizuho Bank President Koji Fujiwara — is expected to be finalized at a board meeting Friday, the sources said.

The expected decision comes as Japan’s financial authorities are preparing to urge the banking group to improve its operations on Friday over its repeated system failures this year.

The Financial Services Agency, the country’s financial watchdog, is expected to issue a business improvement order to Mizuho Financial and Mizuho Bank. The Finance Ministry is also likely to issue a separate order demanding corrective action, judging that proper anti-money laundering procedures were not taken in foreign currency remittances after a Sept. 30 system glitch, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

Mizuho Bank was hit by a total of eight system glitches between February and September. Around 80 percent of its automated teller machines were temporarily suspended after a system failure on Feb. 28.

Mizuho Financial is expected to keep the post of chairman vacant while a successor to outgoing president Sakai will be picked later. At the banking unit, Vice President Masahiko Kato will likely be promoted to president, replacing Fujiwara, the sources said.

Sato led the financial group as president between 2011 and 2018, spearheading the introduction of the core system currently in use. He was chairman when the system became fully operational.

Sakai and Fujiwara were responsible for the system failures as the top executives of the parent company and the banking unit, respectively.

In April 2002 and March 2011, Mizuho also saw large-scale system failures.

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