TOKYO, March 16 Japan's Daishi Bank Ltd
and Hokuetsu Bank Ltd are in the final stages of
agreeing to integrate their operations, public broadcaster NHK
said on Thursday, another move to consolidate regional lenders
as the nation's population shrinks.
The two banks, based in Niigata prefecture on the Sea of
Japan coast in the north of the country, are looking to form a
joint holding company by around next spring to bolster their
operational bases, NHK said, without citing the sources for the
Representatives from Daishi Bank and Hokuetsu Bank were not
immediately available for comment.
Japan has roughly 100 regional banks, but the shrinking
population and the Bank of Japan's negative interest-rate policy
are putting the squeeze on many lenders, prompting a few to
begin merging and taking other steps to shore up operations.
(Reporting by Junko Fujita and Thomas Wilson; Writing by