Bank Merger Wave Seen as 2 in Japan Agree to Join Forces

From United Press International

Kyowa Bank and Saitama Bank said Tuesday that they have agreed in principle to merge April 1 to form one of the world's largest banks, with deposits totaling about $177 billion.

Sources said the merger is expected to prompt other banks to follow suit, triggering reorganization of Japan's banking industry amid globalization and liberalization of financial markets.

The decision by Kyowa and Saitama follows the merger of Mitsui Bank and Taiyo Kobe Bank in April of this year to form the world's second-largest bank, with combined funds of $232 billion.

Kyowa, which ranks 10th among Japanese commercial banks, is strong in small-lot retail financing in the Tokyo area, while Saitama, ranked 11th, is the top bank in Tokyo's neighboring Saitama Prefecture.

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