• Kyodo

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Resona Bank and Saitama Resona Bank, which were created after the Saturday integration of Daiwa Bank and Asahi Bank, began operations Monday.

Both banks are wholly owned subsidiaries of Resona Holdings.

The debut was slightly marred by a glitch that hit some Resona Bank-managed automated teller machines in Nara Prefecture.

People with deposits at other banks could not withdraw money at 45 ATMs inside Lawson convenience stores, Resona Holdings Inc. officials said.

At a ceremony marking the beginning of operations at Resona Bank’s head office in Osaka, Yasuhisa Katsuta, the bank’s president and president of Resona Holdings, said, “We will try to distinguish ourselves from so-called megabanks by offering unique services to individuals and small and medium-size companies, and (we) want to win the confidence of these clients.”

Unlike the four biggest banking groups, including Mizuho Holdings Inc. and Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group Inc., which mainly cater to large corporate customers and individuals across the nation, the Resona Group banks aim to become “super-regional banks” to provide services to small companies and individual clients in local areas, group officials said earlier.

Resona Bank is the biggest bank in the group and has a network of 367 branches in western and eastern Japan and 443.1 billion yen in capital.

The 367 branches consist of 181 taken over from Daiwa Bank and 186 from Asahi Bank.

Saitama Resona Bank, based in the city of Saitama, inherited 100 branches previously operated by Asahi Bank in the prefecture.

Including three new branches set up in Tokyo, Saitama Resona Bank, which is capitalized at 50 billion yen, runs a network of 113 branches.

Katsuta, who was president of Daiwa Bank until Friday, assumed the presidency of Resona Bank, which has 13,300 employees.

Tadahiro Tone, a former Asahi Bank board member, became president of Saitama Resona Bank, which has 3,000 employees.

Resona Bank has a deposit base of 21.6 trillion yen and outstanding loans of 21.7 trillion yen, while Saitama Resona Bank has deposits of 8.2 trillion yen and outstanding loans of 5 trillion yen.

On Feb. 12, Resona Holdings said it expects to post a group net loss of 185 billion yen for fiscal 2002, which ends March 31, reversing its earlier forecast of a 3 billion yen profit.

Resona Holdings said it revised its earnings outlook downward because it has to book greater-than-expected loan-loss charges and latent losses on securities holdings.

Last Thursday, Resona Holdings said it expects to boost its capital base by 100 billion yen by March 31.

Katsuta said Thursday that Resona Holdings has sought capital subscriptions from domestic corporate clients in amounts ranging from several hundred million yen to several billion yen.

Two overseas business partners — the French financial group Credit Agricole and the Hong Kong-based Bank of East Asia — have pledged to cooperate in the recapitalization plan, he said.

With the capital increase, Resona Holdings expects to maintain its group capital-adequacy ratio at 7 percent to 7.5 percent, higher than the 4 percent required by Japanese banking regulators for banks operating domestically.

Resona Holdings also controls Kinki Osaka Bank, Nara Bank, and Resona Trust & Banking Co.

Resona said its name derives from the Latin word “resona” meaning resonance, which sounds similar to the Japanese word “riso” meaning ideal.

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