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The president of the Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan told shareholders at an annual general meeting Thursday that a merger with another financial institution was one option in rebuilding the battered bank.

The shareholders’ meeting was held amid persistent market rumors of poor performance that has sent the bank’s share price falling over the past few weeks.

LTCB head Katsunobu Ohnogi apologized for the drop in the price of the bank’s stock, blaming the situation on “some vicious media reports” of financial troubles at the nation’s second largest long-term credit bank, according to bank officials.

In explaining how the bank intends to prop up its share price, Ohnogi said the management is prepared to take every step possible, and that “a merger was one option,” officials reported.

He also cited such measures as cost-cutting, securing more public funds to shore up the bank’s capital base and speeding up progress in the joint projects it is pursuing with Swiss Bank Corp.

In a rare move, LTCB announced it was retracting the motion on the agenda regarding the disbursement of retirement pay to 12 former executives and one in-house auditor. The bank’s management cited “the situation surrounding the bank’s management” — the deteriorating share price — as the reason.

The media over the past week has published an array of possible merger candidates ranging from major city bank Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank to Nippon Credit Bank, all of which have been categorically denied by the LTCB and the banks named.

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