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TOKYO, April 5 (Reuters) - Daishi Bank and Hokuetsu Bank, two small locally operating Japanese lenders, said on Wednesday they had reached a basic agreement to merge their operations.
The banks, based in Niigata prefecture on the Sea of Japan coast, will set up a holding company in April 2018, they said in a statement.
Japan has roughly 100 so-called regional banks. A shrinking population and the central bank's negative interest-rate policy have created a tough business environment, prompting some to merge or take other steps to shore up their operations. (Reporting by Chris Gallagher; Editing by Himani Sarkar)