I would like to express my appreciation to all of our stakeholders for their ongoing support. I would also like to extend my deepest sympathies to everyone who has been adversely impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
In January of this year, we marked the 20-year anniversary of our relaunch as Aozora Bank.
I would like to once again express my thanks to everyone who supported us over these past 20 years.
Our company will continue to move forward towards achieving our mission to "contribute to the development of society through the creation of new value-added financial services", as described in our Management Philosophy.
I would like to once again thank everyone for your continued support.
In May 2020, we announced our Mid-term Plan for FY2020-22, entitled "Aozora 2022". This plan will serve as a roadmap for our management team and employees as we work to realize the vision of being a distinctive Partner Bank.
FY2020 was an exceptionally difficult year that presented a wide-range of serious challenges not seen by any society for a very long time. During this time our company focused primarily on supporting the short-term financing needs of our customers, especially during the first quarter. In the second quarter, our retail and corporate/financial institution customer-based business began to see a steady recovery.
At Aozora we are making ongoing efforts to establish a framework that allows Aozora to deliver financial services and consulting anytime, anywhere through the seamless integration of our traditional branches and Internet channel services via our BANK™ branch. While consulting services, including asset management and property/business succession, are available at our traditional branches, we are also developing initiatives to improve the convenience of our BANK™ branch Internet channel through the expansion of each of our apps and the introduction of Internet-based products.
The Aozora Group is also striving to meet the needs of our corporate customers adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and provide value-added buy-out finance and M&A advisory solutions to customers who are starting to plan strategic corporate restructuring and business recovery initiatives.
In November 2020, we established our “Regional Finance Partner Bank Task Force” for our regional financial institution customers, which is developing initiatives to provide solutions to a wide-range of management issues, particularly securities investment and risk management support, retail business support, and business recovery/ succession support consultations.
FY2021 Key Initiatives
Amid a historic turning point in industrial structures, we anticipate that these trends will continue to accelerate.
In this environment, we will emphasize our strategic investments business which is designed to contribute to society through proactive risk-taking in order to foster new business and support corporate restructuring/business recovery.
As a financial partner with a deep understanding of our customers’ business, we will make long-term commitments to investment and lending opportunities, leveraging Aozora’s strengths in business areas ranging from debt to equity finance. In April 2021, we established a Strategic Investments Group that works across our Corporate Business Groups in order to effectively deploy resources and promote cross-functional collaborations. This group leverages Aozora’s skill base and organizational flexibility in order to offer high-quality services based on ideas generated by our skilled staff members.
We are also actively developing other initiatives, including the expansion of our “Regional Finance Partner Bank Task Force”, the establishment of a venture ecosystem leveraging GMO Aozora Net Bank, the creation of new business in collaboration with Orient Commercial Joint Stock Bank (a mid-sized commercial bank based in Vietnam we invested in last year), and the expansion of our retail services by leveraging the Aozora Group’s strengths.
In order to contribute to the sustainable development of society, we have designated SDGs as a key management priority. Of note, Aozora Bank Group is developing business initiatives designed to address 3 Key Issues (ESG Materiality): "Environmental protection," "Promoting innovation", and "Life satisfaction".
As initiatives designed to address climate change are rapidly expanding across the globe, our company will focus on the promotion of SDGs while striving to develop stronger communications with all of our stakeholders, including society, customers, shareholders, and employees, in order to create social value in our financial business and proactively contribute to the sustainable development of society.