RETAIL BANKING | Staff Reporter, Japan

Mitsubishi UFJ goes for more M&As in the USA

Japan's biggest lender has not lost its appetite for massive mergers and acquisitions.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. is considering investing several billion dollars to acquire a U.S. regional bank.

President Nobuyuki Hirano said the bank is searching for acquisitions mainly on the West Coast to expand its commercial banking operations and counterbalance tepid growth in Japan.

Mitsubishi UFJ boosted overseas lending 9.6% to US$221 billion in 2011 from US$200 billion in March 2010. Domestic corporate lending fell 8.8% to US$525 billion during the same period, taking total loans down to US$978 billion from US$1.0 trillion, according to bank data.

“We are increasing the reach of our global commercial banking, that’s our core business,” said Hirano. “For investment banking, we have Morgan Stanley.”

In the USA, Mitsubishi UFJ acquired 22% ownership in Morgan Stanley in 2011 and San Francisco-based UnionBanCal Corporastion in 2008. This March, the bank entered into a US$1.5 billion deal to buy Pacific Capital Bancorporation based in Santa Barbara, California.

Hirano said he was “set to lead the bank on a path of growth and evolution.”

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