The nationwide online network for “shinkin” credit, savings and loans banks resumed normal operations at 8 a.m. Thursday after a computer problem that crippled the system the previous day was fixed, a shinkin bank information center said.

Automated teller machines and all other related services have been restored, the center said.

The center discovered that a malfunction of memory devices in the host and backup computers had caused the trouble, and not problems with host-computer operating software as initially thought.

Technicians began replacing the memory devices early Thursday.

The system broke down at about 10:25 a.m. Wednesday, halting transactions with other financial institutions through all 19,621 ATMs and cash dispensers of 347 small shinkin banks nationwide.

The breakdown also affected transactions using debit cards and the Internet.

The online network connects the banks with each other as well as with commercial and regional banks, post offices and other financial institutions.

Insurer cuts benefits

Troubled Asahi Mutual Life Insurance Co. will not pay retirement benefits to any of the 13 directors who left the company at the end of March, company officials said Thursday.

The plan is expected to be approved at the insurer’s annual meeting in July, the officials said.

Some of the former directors, including former adviser Yasuyuki Wakahara, offered to turn down retirement benefits as a gesture of taking responsibility for the company’s plight, the officials said.

They made the decision also because they apparently took into account Asahi Mutual’s radical restructuring program, including big job cuts, the officials said.

Asahi Mutual announced a 20 percent to 50 percent cut in executives’ pay late last year and paid no executive bonuses in April.

Concern about Asahi Mutual’s viability has heightened since January, when it and Tokio Marine & Fire Insurance Co. announced they were scrapping a plan to integrate their life-insurance operations next March by merging Asahi Mutual with a Tokio Marine subsidiary.

But the two insurers said they will continue to pursue an overall consolidation program under which the management of Tokio Marine and Asahi Mutual will be integrated with two other companies around 2004 under Millea Holdings Inc.

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