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Struggling to revive profits as low yields persist, a handful of troubled regional banks are wading deeper into riskier credit such as near-junk rated overseas bonds, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Weaker regional lenders are fighting for survival as the government presses for consolidation in the industry, which has been wracked by shrinking rural populations. Unlike mega-banks, which can mitigate the blow from negative interest rates by diversifying more into businesses like investment banking, regional lenders sometimes lack the resources for such shifts.

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