FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Regional lender Kyushu-Shinwa Holdings Inc. said Wednesday it has asked bigger rival Fukuoka Financial Group Inc. to integrate their managements, after giving up on trying to turn around its business.

Fukuoka Financial has replied positively and said it will begin merger talks as soon as possible, Kyushu-Shinwa said.

Fukuoka Financial is the top regional lender in Kyushu, with assets totaling 9.3 trillion yen, and ranks fourth among all of Japan’s regional lenders. Kyushu-Shinwa has assets of 2.5 trillion yen.

Fukuoka Financial, based in the city of Fukuoka, was set up in April by combining Fukuoka Bank and Kumamoto Family Bank. Kyushu-Shinwa, based in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, is a holding company that presides over Shinwa Bank and other firms.

The two banks have been in a capital and operational tieup, with Fukuoka Bank investing about 7 billion yen in Kyushu-Shinwa Holdings last October.

Fukuoka Financial will further boost its stake and will likely take over some 30 billion yen in debts that Kyushu-Shinwa owes to the government, industry sources said.

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