• Kyodo News


Fitch Ratings said Monday it has upgraded the long-term foreign and local currency issuer default ratings of Aozora Bank to A-minus from BBB-plus in light of its sound balance sheet, improved business performance and solid capital base.

The bank is diversifying operations in a way that will complement its corporate loan business with other high-margin activities, Fitch said.

The strategy is making good progress in part because the bank is recruiting managers with the necessary experience to push into investment banking and other corporate operations, the rating agency said.

The bank’s capital adequacy ratio, which has been rising steadily, was at 19.5 percent as of the end of March, well above the minimum 8 percent necessary to run both domestic and overseas banking operations. Tier 1 core capital accounted for the bulk of the ratio, according to Fitch.

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