Provisional Translation

Press Conference by ASO Taro, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, and Minister of State for Financial Services


(Friday, July 2, 2021, 11:44 am to 11:56 am)

[Questions and answers:]


Let me ask you about reorganization of regional banks. This morning, it was officially announced that FIDEA Holdings Co. Ltd. and Tohoku Bank in the Tohoku region, which have had business alliance, reached a basic agreement toward management integration. They are aiming to achieve management integration in October 2022. Next April, management integration of banks in Aomori, namely, Aomori Bank and Michinoku Bank, is also scheduled. At present, banks are facing unfavorable business conditions due to the COVID-19 infection, in addition to an accelerating population decline and prolonged low interest rates. Under such circumstances, what do you think of regional banks' management integration?


FIDEA Holdings was established through management integration of Shonai Bank in Yamagata and Hokuto Bank in Akita, and then made plans to integrate management with one more bank in Iwate and thus reached an agreement with Tohoku Bank. So, three banks are integrated under one group. FIDEA Holdings has two regional banks already, and one more bank in Iwate, Tohoku Bank, is going to be integrated under one group. Banks in the Tohoku region face various issues including a population decline. Management integration is one of the solutions based on a decision of the individual banks, and I refrain from making any comments. Each of these banks hold hundreds of employees. The banks need to surely strengthen their business foundation through this management integration. This is not an era in which simply completing an integration is enough. Now it is not enough to wait for customers to come to borrow money. We expect the business to be managed properly under a new philosophy suited to this era. Management integration is not the goal. They may streamline their business through means such as consolidating two branches into one. These initiatives by banks should be done in an appropriate manner. This is the most important for the relevant local communities, I think.

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