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FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Bank of Fukuoka and Kumamoto Family Bank Ltd. formally integrated their management under a holding company Monday, creating the largest regional bank group in Kyushu.

Fukuoka Financial Group Inc., headquartered in Fukuoka, is also the fourth-largest regional financial group in Japan, with assets totaling 9.30 trillion yen.

The two banks are now wholly owned subsidiaries of the holding company.

“With this fresh start, we now aim at becoming Japan’s No. 1 local financial group,” Masaaki Tani, president of the holding company, said in a speech Monday at a ceremony to welcome new employees for the 2007 business year.

Tani said the 2006 business year will show that Bank of Fukuoka’s net profit for its core business marked a new record high, the sixth straight year of renewing past records.

The bank’s overall net profits will meanwhile mark a record high for the fourth consecutive year, Tani added.

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