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Troubled Mizuho Group looks to rebuild trust with Google Cloud partnership

Several IT failures last year led to widespread outages and the resignation of top executives

Mizuho Financial Group has signed a deal with Google Cloud in a bid to help it undergo digital transformation and regain its customers' trust after it experienced serious IT errors last year.

The Japanese bank was hit by eight system failures between February and September last year, temporarily suspending transactions for about 80% of its ATMs in one example, according to the Japan Times. In December, it experienced its ninth system failure, where it failed to process 300 money transfer requests.

This occurred despite the bank pledging to prevent similar failures after financial authorities ordered it to improve its operations in November. As a result, the company’s chief, chairman, and three other executives resigned from their positions.

Mizuho's partnership with Google Cloud, announced on Wednesday, aims to accelerate the company's digital transformation and retail innovation strategy. The bank is set to build a new digital marketing platform on Google Cloud that will integrate with Google Analytics. It will use Google Cloud’s data analytics technology to generate real-time insights about customers’ preferences and anticipate their needs, and use its artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver more personalised experiences for customers.

The bank will also create new and advanced digital financial services offerings, like banking as a service, through the Google Cloud. It also plans to create new digital products and services that appeal to customers at scale.

Mizuho also aims to rebuild trust among its customers, chiefly by leveraging Google Cloud’s security engineering expertise and development processes to modernise its systems and make its digital infrastructure and system development process more agile and secure.

As part of this, the deal will look at transforming Mizuho’s corporate culture. The bank hopes to adopt Google Cloud’s approach to product development and problem solving into its corporate culture and become a destination for top talent.

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“To deliver on the needs of our customers in this new era, we're working with Google to enhance our operational capabilities, innovate across our online and mobile channels, and transform our corporate culture,” said Masahiro Kihara, president & group CEO of Mizuho. “Through this partnership, we will become a stronger and more resilient financial group which our customers can trust.”

The bank will hope that this new partnership will stabilise its IT systems, after spending $3.6 billion on development in 2019, according to Reuters.

It reported a large-scale system breakdown on 28 February last year, which affected over 4,318 ATMs out of 5,395 nationwide, resulting in thousands of bank cards and paybooks becoming stuck inside machines. The bank had previously experienced large-scale system glitches in 2002 and 2011.

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