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Resona in Malaysian bank tieup for Asian expansion

Bloomberg

Resona Holdings Inc., the nation’s fifth-largest bank by market value, is poised to tie up with Malaysia’s Public Bank Bhd. as part of its efforts to expand in Asia.

Resona will sign an agreement with Malaysia’s third-biggest lender on Monday to serve Japanese companies looking to enter the country and borrow in the local currency, President Kazuhiro Higashi said in an interview this week.

“There are many Japanese companies in Malaysia, so we want to support them with a local banking partner,” said Higashi, 56, who became president last month. “We’ve covered most big Asian countries by now,” he said, adding that he’s interested in Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.

Resona is tapping credit demand from faster-growing economies as deflation and a shrinking population limit growth at home. Higashi said in March that he plans to boost new loans to Japanese businesses expanding in Asia by 25 percent to ¥50 billion ($490 million) in a year.

With no banking licenses outside Japan, Tokyo-based Resona has so far forged partnerships with 12 banks in Asia, including Bank of China Ltd. and Manila-based Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., to boost loans to companies with offshore operations.

Shares of Resona have climbed 36 percent this year, compared with a 45 percent increase in Japan’s benchmark Topix index. The lender last week unveiled plans to complete a bailout repayment in five years.

Resona will repay the remaining ¥872 billion it owes to the government by March 2018, it said May 10. The bank is one of the lenders rescued by taxpayers after amassing bad loans after the property and stock market bubble imploded around 1990.