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OSAKA — UFJ Bank will accelerate the consolidation of 108 of its domestic branches by six months and complete the process by the end of next March 2003, President Masashi Teranishi said Monday.

“We’d like to accelerate the schedule by around half a year,” Teranishi said. “We will speed up restructuring programs.”

Under the current plan, UFJ Bank, which was created through the Jan. 15 merger of Sanwa Bank and Tokai Bank, is expected to abolish or merge 108 of the 478 domestic branches held by Sanwa and Tokai as of January 2002. Of the 108 branches slated for consolidation, 68 have already been named.

U.S. subsidiary sold

UFJ Holdings Inc., one of Japan’s four biggest banking groups, said Monday it has sold its U.S. subsidiary, United California Bank, to French financial group BNP Paribas for $2.4 billion.

UFJ Holdings, to which UFJ Bank belongs, said it has sold all 10.86 million outstanding shares in the subsidiary to BNP Paribas in line with an agreement reached Dec. 10 between the two firms to improve its financial health.

With total assets of $10.52 billion, United California Bank had $8.71 billion in deposits and $9.01 billion in outstanding loans as of the end of December.

United California Bank posted net profits of $121 million and operating profits of $173 million in 2001.

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