The nation’s second-tier regional banks need to make greater efforts to dispose of their nonperforming loans and prepare for the upcoming “Big Bang” financial deregulation, Finance Minister Hiroshi Mitsuzuka said July 17.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the Second Association of Regional Banks, the finance minister stressed the need for individual financial institutions to maintain healthy management, increase capital and streamline operations. Second regional banks should continue to serve the financial needs of their local regions, he said, adding that deregulation would open doors for new business opportunities.

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