Chief executives of the Mizuho Financial Group expressed confidence Friday that their company is destined to lead the Japanese banking industry and become one of the world’s top banks.

The gigantic group, which unites Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank, Fuji Bank and the Industrial Bank of Japan, was inaugurated the same day with the creation of a holding firm.

“We are in a position to lead the Japanese financial industry, plus we have in our hands the ticket to place ourselves as a formidable player among the world’s top five banks,” Katsuyuki Sugita, DKB president and joint chief executive officer of the holding firm, told a news conference.

The new group is the world’s largest banking group in terms of assets, holding aggregate assets of 134.4 trillion yen as of March 2000.

Mizuho Holdings Inc. will oversee nine business units, including individual investors, securities and investment banking sections. With a staff of 850, the holding company is designed to unify management strategy of the different branches of the Mizuho Group.

“The three banks’ decision (to unite) triggered reforms in the industry . . . and changed the face of the nation’s financial map,” Sugita said.

The announcement of the merger in August last year spurred a flurry of mergers among Japan’s banks. The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Mitsubishi Trust & Banking Corp. and Nippon Trust Bank intend to link up under a holding company, as will Sanwa Bank, Tokai Bank and Toyo Trust & Banking Co. In addition, Sumitomo Bank and Sakura Bank plan to merge to form Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

It is the mission of the holding company to address the matter of how the firm will “survive and win in an increasingly competitive financial sector,” Sugita said

Sugita shares the post of CEO with Fuji Bank President Yoshiro Yamamoto and IBJ President Masao Nishimura. The three CEOs will be “consolidated” into one in the spring of 2002 as part of the second phase of consolidation.

With nine directors on its board and a 15-strong executive management, Mizuho Holdings presents, in numbers at least, an equal representation of each of the three banks.

In response to rumors that internal strife among the different banks was slowing the pace of integration, Sugita told reporters he trusts that employees “share the same starting point — the desire to create a strong bank” and that this will be sufficient to overcome any differences.

The banks’ securities branches and trust banking affiliates will merge and begin operations Monday as Mizuho Securities Co. and Mizuho Trust & Banking Co.

The second phase of integration will occur in April 2002 and lead to Mizuho Bank and Mizuho Corporate Bank.

Kankaku, Daito to join

Kankaku Securities Co., a brokerage arm of Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank, and Daito Securities, a Fuji Bank unit, announced Friday they will merge in April, a move in accordance with the Mizuho Financial Group’s strategy to consolidate its securities branches.

Kankaku, which will be renamed Mizuho Investors Securities on Sunday, will effectively absorb Daito in April, with each Daito share traded for 3.3 shares of Kankaku, officials said.

Kankaku brings to the merger a staff of 1,214 at 55 offices, while Daito brings 254 employees at 10 offices.

Based on reported assets of the two firms in March, the new entity will hold aggregate assets of 875.7 billion yen.

By merging the two midsize brokerages, the Mizuho group plans to consolidate the retail securities businesses of brokerage affiliates and bolster cost effectiveness of the securities branches within the group, officials said.

Kankaku is set to absorb Kokyo Securities Co., a brokerage arm of NTT Corp., on Sunday.

In October, the Mizuho group will form Mizuho Securities, which will unify the three wholesale stock-brokering arms of the group’s component banks.

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