Two Fukuoka regional banks plan merger in October 2004

Kyodo

Nishi-Nippon Bank and Fukuoka City Bank have agreed to merge in October 2004, the two banks said Monday.

The merged bank will become a top-class bank in the same league as the Bank of Fukuoka in Kyushu and likely the fifth-largest regional in the nation.

The two Fukuoka-based regionals, which unveiled a plan in April to join forces under a holding company, said they concluded that an outright merger would be the best way to go because of the expected synergistic effects.

The new entity is tentatively to be named Nishi-Nippon City Bank, the banks said.

Nishi-Nippon Bank President Tsuneo Shindo will become the president, while Fukuoka City Bank President Tsukasa Shishima will assume the post of chairman, they said.

Under the agreement, the two banks will cut the number of branches from a combined 310 as of the end of March to around 240 by the end of March 2007.

They will slash some 1,000 jobs on a combined basis over the same period to bring the new payroll to 4,400, while cutting annual expenditures by 10 billion yen.

Founded in 1944, Nishi-Nippon Bank had deposits of 3.57 trillion yen as of the end of March. It had 177 domestic outlets with 3,248 employees.

Fukuoka City Bank, established in 1924, had deposits of 2.36 trillion yen and 133 outlets and 2,162 employees as of the end of March.