TOKYO, April 28 Japan's banking regulator is
pushing regional banks to set up joint operations to help small
and medium-sized Japanese firms expand abroad by offering
foreign currency-based transactions and overseas loans, sources
with direct knowledge of the matter said.
"Our idea is for regional banks to play a fuller role in
promoting clients' overseas expansion by setting up banks or
joint ventures to handle foreign currency-based settlements and
loans," Financial Services Agency Commissioner Ryutaro Hatanaka
told a meeting of regional bank heads this month, according to
the sources, who were not authorised to discuss the matter
Small Japanese businesses, which rely on regional banks for
financial services, are increasingly doing business abroad, but
domestic-focused regional institutions typically lack the size
and expertise to offer services overseas on their own.
Hatanaka said it was not practical for Japan's top banks,
which have already been aggressively building up overseas
operations, to provide financial services to small businesses.
FSA officials declined to comment, saying the meetings with
regional banks were not open to the public.
Many small and medium-sized Japanese businesses are setting
up shop in emerging markets in Asia to tap growing markets or
supply big Japanese firms that operate abroad.
(Reporting by Sumio Ito and Taiga Uranaka; Additional Reporting
by Noriyuki Hirata; Editing by Edmund Klamann)