Hiroshi Okuda, chairman of the Japan Federation of Employers’ Associations (Nikkeiren), said Wednesday the management of Mizuho Financial Group should take responsibility for the computer fiasco afflicting the group’s two banks.

“I don’t know if that means resignations or pay cuts,” Okuda said. “But they should do something to take the blame for inconveniencing so many customers.”

Mizuho’s computer troubles began just before the April 1 launch of Mizuho Bank and Mizuho Corporate Bank. They were created when Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank, Fuji Bank and the Industrial Bank of Japan brought three incompatible computer systems to their merger under Mizuho Holdings Inc.

Thousands of the banks’ customers were double-billed for utilities charges, 7,000 automated teller machines crashed and utility companies are still experiencing delays in receiving customer payments due to the malfunctions.

Yoshiro Yamamoto, the president of Fuji Bank before it merged, indicated Tuesday that three former chief executive officers of Mizuho Holdings, including himself, will resign from their current posts as special advisers to the holding firm to take responsibility for the computer problems.

The two other special advisers are Katsuyuki Sugita, former DKB president, and Masao Nishimura, who headed IBJ.

Critics blame the bitter competition for leadership among Fuji, DKB and IBJ management for causing the poor coordination among the banks when they were trying to integrate their computer systems ahead of the merger.

Chiba Bank faces loss

Chiba Bank said its loans to Dai-Ichi Katei Denki Co. and its two group firms, totaling 9.3 billion yen, may turn sour now that the consumer electronics retailer has filed for court protection from creditors.

Dai-Ichi Katei Denki may default or delay in repaying the loans, Chiba Bank said.

But the regional bank said the possible default would not affect its earnings estimate for fiscal 2001 as it already set aside loan-loss reserves for the loans.

Dai-Ichi Katei Denki filed for court protection Tuesday from creditors under the fast-track corporate rehabilitation law, with liabilities of 33.9 billion yen.

On the same day, Asahi Bank, under the aegis of Daiwa Bank Holdings Inc., said 2.6 billion yen of loans it extended to Dai-Ichi Katei Denki and its consumer credit affiliate may become irrecoverable.

Asahi Bank said the possible loan loss would not affect its earnings estimates for the business year that ended in March.

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