WAKAYAMA (Kyodo) Kiyo Bank in Wakayama Prefecture made a fresh start Tuesday by absorbing local competitor Wakayama Bank, giving it a total of 100 outlets with a 46 percent share in outstanding loans to customers in the prefecture.

“Local financial institutions cannot prosper without the development of the local economy. From this viewpoint, we’d like to be of help to our clients,” said Hiroomi Katayama, president of Kiyo Holdings Inc. and now concurrently president of the new Kiyo Bank.

The bank aims to expand lending to small and midsize businesses in the prefecture and neighboring areas, and to increase its net operating profit, or profit from its core banking business, to more than 23 billion yen by March 2009.

The profit goal represents 3.2 billion yen more than the combined profits that the two predecessors posted in the year that ended last March.

The Financial Services Agency approved the merger in September, along with an injection of 31.5 billion yen in public funds to the merged bank to bolster its financial standing.

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