Haru Takehana (left) president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California, receives a donation of $30,000 from Manufacturers Bank Chairman and CEO Kazuhisa Miyagawa (center) and Sander Pruijs, president of Manufacturers Bank, on Nov. 16.

By GWEN MURANAKA, Rafu Senior Editor

Manufacturers Bank celebrated its 60th anniversary on Nov. 16 with a gathering of more than 250 people at the Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.

The bank, which was founded in 1962, has grown to over $4 billion in assets and has offices throughout Southern California as well as in San Jose.

With many bank officials, dignitaries, and community members present to mark the occasion, the celebration was a chance to reflect on the past and look ahead to the coming decades.

Kazuhisa Miyagawa, Manufacturers Bank chairman and CEO, noted that the bank has diversified since its beginnings, when it primarily supported businesses in the textile and manufacturing industries.

“With change comes opportunities, and Manufacturers Bank is eager to take advantage by investing in new technology, transforming our business to pursue a new and better Manufacturers Bank,” Miyagawa said.

One of those initiatives is Jenius Bank, an online bank geared toward the consumer market that is scheduled to launch next year.

“Our goal is to take advantage of the latest technology to provide superior products, services, and experiences,” explained Miyagawa.

Isaku Kageyama and David Wells of DrumSpeak perform a taiko arrangement at the 60th anniversary celebration.

Regarding the bank’s vision for the future, Miyagawa added, “What I would like to emphasize is that there are things that will not change and cannot be replaced with technology. We will continue to be a trusted partner in the community and remain dedicated to meeting our customers’ needs and exceeding expectations.”

Kenko Sone, consul general of Japan in Los Angeles, praised Manufacturers Bank for its role in supporting the local economy. He noted that the bank has been at the center of growth within the Japanese business community.

“Here in California, Japanese companies are involved in every imaginable category of business that I’m sure are reflected in your account books as well, from the auto sector to pharmaceuticals; and to the import and distribution of Japanese food products, which I understand your bank has been instrumental in supporting,” Sone said. “Your service to the various local communities, including the Japanese American communities and the Japanese business communities, is widely appreciated. These deep ties and long-term working relationships have contributed tremendously to better Japanese-U.S. business and economic relations.”

The Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California (JCCSC) and Drew Child Development Corporation, which provides help to at-risk children in South Los Angeles, were each presented with checks for $30,000 to mark 60 years since the bank opened.

Haru Takehana, JCCSC president, and Jackie Clark, president and CEO of Drew Child Development Corporation, accepted the donations on behalf of their organizations.

Jackie Clark, president and CEO of Drew Child Development Corporation, is presented a $30,000 donation by Manufacturers Bank Chairman and CEO Kazuhisa Miyagawa and President Sander Pruijs.

Speaking afterwards, Takehana thanked Manufacturers Bank for supporting their mission.

“We appreciate Manufacturers Bank’s thoughtfulness. It was rather unexpected that the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California was chosen to be awarded. I was told that the reason we were selected was because we have been dedicated to and assisting toward making this a better community since the chamber was established in 1905. All directors are volunteers,” Takehana said.

Manufacturers Bank is a subsidiary of SMBC Americas Holdings, Inc., a bank holding company wholly owned by Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC).

Akihiro Fukutome, co-head of the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Global Banking Unit and a member of the Manufacturers Bank board of directors, said that the U.S. is an important market for the group and Manufacturers Bank is unique as the only group company that is licensed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

“I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to all of you for allowing Manufacturers Bank to mark 60 years of history,” Fukutome said. “The U.S. is one of the most important markets for SMBC Group. Throughout more than 100 years, we have been committed to supporting Japanese companies in the U.S. and also large-scale U.S. companies and various projects.

“SMBC Group will continue to support Manufacturers Bank in order to contribute to the sustainable development of all stakeholders, including the customers, regulators, and vendors who support Manufacturers Bank.”

Photos by MARIO GERSHOM REYES/Rafu Shimpo


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