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The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi plans to make 1 trillion yen in new loans to corporate and individual customers by March 2005, bank officials said Thursday.

Like other major Japanese banks, Tokyo-Mitsubishi has been reducing lending. However, it is changing that policy in the belief it has fixed its bad-loan problems, they said.

The bank, the main unit of Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group Inc., will select 30,000 companies deemed creditworthy, of which several thousand will be new clients, and offer them new loans, they said.

Industry sources said the bank will probably target firms that have seen their loans from other financial institutions cut back as those banks decrease lending.

With the government to abolish the Government Housing Loan Corp. in March 2006, the bank will also try to boost mortgages to individuals.

The lender also plans to raise interest rates on loans to corporations by about 0.3 percentage point in view of corporate credit risks.

It hopes to raise its operating profits from the core banking business by 100 billion yen in the year to March 31, 2005, the officials said.

In the year to March, the amount of sour loans written off by Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi was roughly at the same level as its operating profits, which came to 619.5 billion yen. The amount of its outstanding nonperforming loans also fell.

Mizuho still No. 1

LONDON (Kyodo) The Mizuho Financial Group has retained its position as the largest banking group in the world in terms of assets, according to the latest edition of the British financial journal The Banker.

U.S. holding company Citigroup came in second.

Mizuho, which also ranked No. 1 last year, had $1.178 trillion in assets by the end of the 2001 business year, while Citigroup had $1.051 trillion, the journal said in its Top 1000 banking list.

Sumitomo Mitsui Bank Corp. ranked third in terms of assets, and Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group fifth.

Citigroup leads the Top 1000 listing for the fourth year in a row in terms of capitalization, followed by Bank of America Corp.

Mizuho ranked third, Sumitomo Mitsui sixth and Mitsubishi Tokyo eighth. UFJ Holdings Inc. took ninth position.

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