SMBC Group's response to COVID-19

CEO Message CEO Message

 COVID-19 has claimed many precious lives, and the virus continues to wreak havoc across the globe. On behalf of SMBC Group, I would like to extend my sincerest condolences to those who have lost loved ones to this terrible disease. I pray for the speedy recovery of those who have fallen ill with COVID-19 and hope that we can begin our journey back to normality in the very near future.

 Countries around the world, including Japan, have implemented various initiatives aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, for example introducing stay-at-home measures, limiting/prohibiting overseas travel, and shutting down/calling for the voluntary closure of commercial facilities and factories. Such actions have had a tremendous impact on our daily lives and the economy. Many people are going about their daily lives battling feelings of uncertainty, and we are seeing governments and private sector players from around the world engage in concerted efforts to overcome this unprecedented crisis.

 SMBC Group, as part of the public infrastructure that is indispensable to maintaining society's various functions, will devote our utmost efforts to ensure that each of our group companies continue to provide customers with undisrupted financial services while safeguarding the health and wellbeing of the more than 100,000 SMBC Group employees.

 We will fulfill our social responsibility as a global financial group in the fight against COVID-19 by implementing initiatives that contribute to the community and to society, including donating to and sponsoring medical facilities as part of efforts to support persons in the medical sector battling on the frontlines against COVID-19 to prevent the virus from further spreading and to bring the pandemic to an end.

 SMBC Group will further accelerate multifaceted and flexible initiatives so that all members of the community/society can lead their lives in safety and with peace of mind.

May 1, 2020
Director President and Group CEO
(Representative Executive Officer)

Supporting Customers Supporting Customers

We are supporting our corporate customers continue their business operations by providing a smooth supply of funds through loans and offering online options to carry-out settlements and other transactions. Furthermore, while taking the necessary precautions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, we continue to provide financial services that are critical to our individual customers' daily lives (deposits, remittance/payments, credit cards, etc.) and work to address their emergency funding requirements.

Smooth supply of funds

As part of efforts to support corporate customers, in Japan SMBC has established special funds and waived fees pertaining to select loans*. Furthermore, certain SMBC overseas offices have established special funds to provide Japanese and non-Japanese corporate customers access to a smooth supply of funds.

SMBC Group companies have established special loans and introduced flexible credit examination procedures as part of efforts to ensure that individual customers also have access to a smooth supply of funds to meet their emergency funding needs*.

  • *Available to customers with which the applicable SMBC Group company engages in domestic (Japan-based) transactions.

Online services

Given that local governments have implemented stay-at-home measures and teleworking is steadily spreading, SMBC Group companies have introduced online options for corporate and individual customers to carry-out a variety of transactions (banks deposits, remittance/payments, foreign exchange, credit cards applications, etc.).

Contributing to the Community and Society Contributing to the Community and Society

In order to contribute to the soundness of the community/society and of civic life, SMBC Group will support/collaborate with medical institutions and affiliated bodies who are working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or establish an effective method of treating the virus. As part of such efforts, SMBC Group will also support/collaborate with organizations involved in philanthropic and humanitarian initiatives, the enhancement of education/social welfare, and the revival of culture/the arts.

To support efforts to combat COVID-19, SMBC Group will donate a total of 1.5 billion yen to medical institutions and affiliated bodies, as well as to organizations involved in philanthropic activities. The following provides an overview of major donations made by SMBC Group and the status of our efforts to support the battle against COVID-19.

(1) Donations and Support by SMBC Group

Supporting medical research and activities

SMBC Group donated 500 million yen to the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University to support medical research relating to COVID-19 and other newly discovered viruses. As part of efforts to support the development of vaccines to combat new viruses, including COVID-19, SMBC Group also donated 1 million euro to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. In addition to the above donation, SMBC Group is engaging in ongoing discussions on how we can support efforts to battle COVID-19 by partnering with private sector players and research institutions.

Response to SMBC Group's Donations to the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University (CiRA)

 The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt our lives, and we all pray that a vaccine or another effective treatment will be developed as soon as possible. However, such breakthroughs require time, and we therefore have to prepare for a drawn-out battle with this virus.

 In the midst of this battle, SMBC Group graciously offered to donate equipment to CiRA. This most-generous action enabled us to quickly commence a number of research ventures together with prefectural governments and research institutions, and I am incredibly grateful for this kindness. We are encouraged by the dedicated efforts of SMBC Group and various other companies and individuals looking to do what they can today to help bring about a safe and quick end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Understanding the behavior and characteristics of a virus is imperative to developing treatments. We are working together with other institutions to contribute to the development of treatments by means of research using iPS cells.
Let us all come together to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our society.

Director CiRA Shinya Yamanaka

Shinya Yamanaka
Director CiRA Shinya Yamanaka
Supporting the enhancement of emerging market economies' medical and educational capabilities

As part of our efforts to support the enhancement of medical and educational systems at emerging market economies, SMBC Group donated 100 million yen to the Japan Committee for UNICEF. The donation was used to support a number of worthy causes, such as enhancing the medical system in Indonesia.

SMBC Group also donated 1.3 billion Indonesian rupiah to Perhimpunan Dokter Umum Indonesia (PDUI). PDUI is affiliated with the local medical association, and the donation was used to support the functions of Indonesia's medical facilities.

As an immediate response to support people and businesses in the Asia-Pacific region during the Covid-19 pandemic, SMBC launched the "SMBC Together with You Fund" ("fund"), totaling USD 1.7 million in charitable contributions.
Through our work with 17 charity organization partners across 9 countries in the region, the fund was devoted in the form of both monetary and resource donations, mainly to boost front line safety, to enable continued access to essentials, medicine, treatment and education for those in need, and to ensure no one in the community gets left behind as we progress in a post-pandemic world. For more details, please visit SMBC x Tomorrow :

Supporting the promotion of cultural activities and the arts

SMBC Group donated 100 million yen to the Association of Japanese Symphony Orchestras to support cultural and artistic activities that are impacted by COVID-19.

(2) Donations and Support in Collaboration with Customers

In addition to donations by SMBC Group, we will implement frameworks which allow customers to participate in efforts to contribute to society by using services offered by SMBC Group companies.

  • SMBC at HOME Project
    The SMBC at HOME Project is an initiative through which SMBC will make donations (combined maximum of 100 million yen) to battle COVID-19 in response to individual and corporate clients using SMBC's internet banking service.

(3) Donation and Support in Collaboration with our Employees

As a framework through which SMBC Group employees could contribute to society, donations were solicited from employees with SMBC Group matching those donations. As a result, a total of JPY 15 million will be donated to 13 entities, including non-profit organizations.

SMBC Group's Business Policy SMBC Group's Business Policy

We are implementing a number of initiatives both in and outside of Japan so that we may continue to provide services that are critical for society to function while placing the highest priority on preventing the further spread of COVID-19 and ensuring the safety and well-being of our employees, their families, and our customers.

Preventing the further spread of COVID-19

  • SMBC Group companies are working to ensure the continuation of business operations through a variety of measures, including split operations where duties are shared between two or more teams, at branches and offices where staff come into contact with customers, call centers, data centers, and offices that handle settlement/clerical operations.
  • As part of infection prevention efforts at their banking branches, SMBC and SMBC Trust Bank have installed acrylic boards at their bank counters and employees request customers who are waiting to use the ATM to ensure that there is adequate space between themselves and other customers.
  • In response to the Japanese Government's request to reduce the number of employees who are commuting to work, SMBC Group has introduced a number of initiatives, such as teleworking or instructing employees to remain home, while employees whose roles are deemed to be essential to maintaining financial services or meeting customer needs, for example supporting sales/banking offices, continue commuting to work. In addition, staggered working hours have been introduced and employees have been instructed to refrain from nonessential customer visits.
  • Appropriate steps have been taken to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in instances where it was discovered that employees of SMBC Group had been infected by the virus. Under the guidance of public health centers, affected offices are sterilized and employees' past actions (direct contact with customers, etc.) are checked.

Employee-targeted measures

  • Employees stationed at domestic offices are required to check their temperature and health condition each morning. Employees refrain from commuting to their office in cases where they or their family members with whom they live with have a fever. In addition, SMBC and SMBC Trust Bank obtain an accurate picture of their employees' health status by sending all employees an email questionnaire each morning.
  • Employees who have children that must stay at home due to the closure of schools/kindergartens, are expectant mothers, or have underlying health conditions are encouraged to telework or take special paid leave.
  • In order to support employees who have concerns regarding their physical or mental wellbeing, SMBC has hired public health nurses and retained the services of external counselors. SMBC Trust Bank has introduced a mental health care hotline.