All but one of the nation’s 17 major banks scored pretax profits in the first half of fiscal 1999, according to midterm reports released by the banks Monday.
Three city banks — Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Sanwa Bank and Daiwa Bank — as well as six trust banks released their earnings reports the same day. The remaining eight had announced their data on Friday.
The lone loser was Nippon Trust & Banking Co., which posted red ink on a pretax basis for the first half when it closed its books on Sept. 30.
Nippon Trust suffered a pretax loss of 9.8 billion yen after writing off loans of 27.2 billion yen.
Net business profits — which involve the core banking business before individual loan loss reserves are taken into account — ranged from 4 billion yen for Nippon Trust to 200.3 billion yen for Sumitomo Bank.
Sumitomo was followed by BTM’s 193.8 billion yen in net business profits and Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank’s 184.4 billion yen.
In terms of pretax profit, BTM recorded the biggest figure of 101 billion yen, up 170.8 percent from April-September of 1998. Sumitomo followed with 90.8 billion yen, a rise of 45.4 percent from the same period last year.
The reports show that the 17 are still saddled with massive problem loans that combined total 19.074 trillion yen.
The loan writeoffs, mainly through the padding of loan loss reserves, remained high at the end of September, despite the banks’ claims at the end of fiscal 1998 that their bad-loan mess had been taken care of. The 17 wrote off an additional 1.86 trillion yen during the first half of fiscal 1999.
Officials of many of the banks also said they expect to increase their plans for bad-loan writeoffs during the second half of the current fiscal year, reflecting a continuing fall in collateral values and deterioration in their borrowers’ financial conditions.
On banks’ lending to “shoko” commercial lenders, whose strong-arm loan collection tactics have recently come under fire, many said they are either scaling back outstanding loans or will “act prudently” in the future.
Sanwa Bank, for example, said it has refused to extend fresh loans to shoko lenders for 2 1/2 years.
Bank officials explained that their loans to Shohkoh Fund Co. stood at 86.2 billion yen at the end of September, which will be reduced over time as the loans are repaid. Some banks refused to say how much they are lending.
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