Japan's competition watchdog approves merger of Nagasaki banks

Fukuoka Financial Group and Eighteenth Bank are expected to merge in April 2019.

Japan’s FairTrade Commission has greenlit the merger proposal between Fukuoka Financial Group and Eighteenth Bank in Kyushu.

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The move was facilitated by a number of the banks’ corporate borrowers who agreed to shift debt around $903m (JPY100b) to rival lenders in line with the competition watchdog rules aiming to prevent the merged bank from assuming a monopolistic position over the regional lending market.

This comes after the antitrust watchdog previously announced that it was halting the merger as the banks’ combined share of lending to small and midsize companies in the Nagasaki Prefecture was over 70% and that the merger would only cement their dominance.

Also read: Japanese regional banks eye information sharing to combat financial crime

The two banks then reached out to its borrowers to request whether they were willing to shift their loans to rival banks, credit unions, mega banks and Shoko Chukin in an effort to push through with the merger. 

The banks are expected to merge in April 2019.

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