Chikuho Bank to Form Capital, Business Tie-Up with SBI

Economy

Fukuoka, Jan. 17 (Jiji Press)--Chikuho Bank <8398> said Friday that it has agreed to form a capital and business tie-up with major Japanese online financial services firm SBI Holdings Inc. <8473>.

SBI will acquire an equity stake of up to 3 pct in Chikuho Bank from existing shareholders, with the regional bank issuing no new shares.

The bank, based in Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture in southwestern Japan, is seeking to raise its profitability through the partnership, at a time when regional banks are grappling with harsh business conditions linked to the Bank of Japan's ultraeasy monetary policy.

The move means that Chikuho Bank will join SBI's initiative to create the country's "fourth megabank," or a union of regional banks, through acquisitions of equity stakes. Chikuho Bank will be the third bank to join the initiative, after Shimane Bank <7150>, based in Matsue in the western prefecture of Shimane, and Fukushima Bank <8562>, based in the northeastern city of Fukushima.

Chikuho Bank faces intense competition as regional banks in the Kyushu southwestern Japan region have undergone industry realignment across prefectural borders, such as the management integration of Fukuoka Financial Group Inc. <8354> and Eighteenth Bank, based in Fukuoka and Nagasaki, respectively.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press