• Kyodo

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Nishi-Nippon Bank and Fukuoka City Bank have started finalizing a plan to merge in fiscal 2004, bank sources said Sunday.

The two Fukuoka-based banks are expected to announce the decision this week after holding separate board meetings. They will likely name the new bank Nishi-Nippon City Bank, the sources said.

If the merger is realized, the new bank will have deposits of about 5.8 trillion yen based on the two banks’ deposits in March. It will be considered a top-class bank along with the Bank of Fukuoka in the Kyushu region and will likely be the fifth-largest regional bank in the nation.

The two banks are finalizing management positions and have decided that Nishi-Nippon Bank President Tsuneo Shindo will probably become president of the new bank. Fukuoka City Bank President Tsukasa Shishima is to assume the post of chairman, the sources said.

The two banks revealed in April that they agreed in principle to integrate their operations under a holding company in April 2003.

They concluded, however, that the effects of restructuring under a holding company would be limited, while a full merger would promote streamlining and profitability.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Nagasaki, a subsidiary of Fukuoka City Bank, will not become a subsidiary of the newly formed bank, according to the sources.

Founded in 1944, Nishi-Nippon Bank had deposits of 3.52 trillion yen at the end of March, as well as 177 domestic outlets and three overseas offices with 3,060 employees.

Fukuoka City Bank, established in 1924, had 2.33 trillion yen in deposits, 133 outlets and 2,162 employees at the end of March.

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