BANKING AND SECURITIES

Mizuho opens first combined branch

Mizuho Bank and Mizuho Investors Securities Co. opened their first joint branch operations Monday in Tokyo.

Mizuho Bank’s Shakujii branch in Nerima Ward became the first joint outlet by a bank and a brokerage as Mizuho Investors Securities transferred its nearby sub-branch there.

The move follows the Financial Services Agency’s easing in August of strict restrictions on joint branch operations by banks and brokerage houses.

The deregulation is part of a comprehensive program the FSA introduced to stimulate the securities market.

Previously, banks and brokerages operating in the same location were required to set up a wall to separate their operations, even if they belonged to the same business group. Customers may now move freely between their counters.

Mizuho Bank and Mizuho Investors Securities — both members of the Mizuho Financial Group — are sharing the same lobby on the first floor of the bank branch while setting up their respective counters.

“We are the first among Japan’s financial groups to jointly operate branches of the two financial segments,” Mizuho Investors President Taira Hosaka said at the opening ceremony. “We expect the joint operations to boost the group’s financial strength.”