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2008年12月13日 (土)

金融強化法―中小企業融資へ生かせ

2008/12/13

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 12(IHT/Asahi: December 13,2008)

EDITORIAL: Propping up the banks

金融強化法―中小企業融資へ生かせ

The financial crisis is battering Japan Inc. with a vengeance. The number of corporate bankruptcies in the January-November period reached the highest level in five years, surpassing even the total for all of last year. A number of companies went under as they failed to raise the money needed to run their operations, even though they were operating in the black.

 金融危機が企業経営を脅かしている。今年の倒産件数が11月で昨年の総数を上回り、5年ぶりの高水準になった。黒字なのに、運転資金が手当てできずに倒れる企業が目立つ。 

Small and medium-sized companies are bearing the brunt of the credit squeeze. While banks are tightening their lending standards, large companies that hadn't gone to banks for years are now queuing up at loan windows, leaving credit hard to come by for small and medium-sized businesses.

 とくに中小企業が苦境に立たされている。銀行が融資をしぼっているうえに、大企業が銀行融資の獲得に走りだしたあおりを受けて、中小企業がはじき出されているからだ。 

Big companies have weaned themselves from bank loans and procured necessary funds in international markets by issuing commercial paper--a kind of promissory note for short-term financing--and corporate bonds. But the global financial crisis has made it difficult even for large companies to issue these debt-financing instruments, forcing them to borrow from domestic banks.

 これまで大企業は、世界の金融市場を舞台に手形の一種であるコマーシャルペーパー(CP)や社債を発行して資金を調達してきた。ところが金融危機で発行が難しくなり、国内の銀行からの融資に殺到している。 

In addition to seeking loans from major banks, large companies are also turning to unfamiliar regional lenders that mainly cater to small and midsized businesses. This rush toward bank lending among corporate giants is causing smaller borrowers to be crowded out. Domestic banks are failing to make effective responses to the drastic changes in corporate financing patterns due to the financial crisis.

 大企業はメガバンクだけでなく、付き合いの少ない中小企業向け金融機関へも手を広げており、本来の融資先である中小企業があぶれる事態が出てきた。危機で企業の資金調達行動が劇的に変わったのに、銀行が全体として対応できていない。 

The government plans to take steps to help large and midsized companies facing a cash squeeze raise operational funds.

 政府は大企業や中堅企業向けに大規模な資金繰り支援に乗り出す。 

What should banks do? Banks are required to maintain a certain level of capital adequacy by keeping their risk assets--mainly loans--below a specified ratio to their equity capital. It is now vital for banks to enhance their capital bases so that they can expand their lending.

 銀行はどうすべきか。銀行は、融資の総額を自己資本の厚みが許す範囲に収めるよう規制されている。そこで自己資本を増強し、融資の余力をつけることが不可欠なのだ。 

The Lower House passed a bill Friday that allows the government to inject public funds into banks facing a potential capital inadequacy. The law to strengthen financial functions is aimed at bolstering the capital positions of banks to increase their lending to small and medium-sized companies.

 きょう衆院で成立する予定の金融機能強化法の改正案は、政府が金融機関へ公的資金を注入し、自己資本を厚くさせることで、中小企業への融資を拡大させることを狙っている。 

Whether this legislation, which actually revives and expands an expired bank recapitalization program, achieves its principal purpose depends on two things.

 この法律が効果をあげるための課題は二つある。

First, the revised program must be operated in a way that enables capital injections into a larger number of banking institutions. Secondly, steps are needed to ensure that credit will actually become more available to smaller businesses as well as large companies.

資本注入が広がるように新制度を運用すること。そして、大企業だけでなく、本当に中小企業にも資金を行き渡らせることだ。 

The government initially intended to save top bank executives from being held accountable for their institutions' troubles in order to avoid discouraging banks from applying for cash infusions. But concerns about lax management prompted the government to revise the bill to hold top bank officials responsible for serious mismanagement in the past or slipshod management after cash injections by the government.

 政府は当初、金融機関が申請しやすくするため、経営責任を問わない方針だった。だが、それでは放漫経営を許すとの懸念から、経営に落ち度がある場合や、注入後に経営が放漫になった場合は責任を問う形に修正された。 

There are good reasons for the government to demand discipline in the management of banks that receive public funds. But pursing the issue of management responsibility to an extent that intimidates banks would defeat the purpose of the program.

 経営に規律を求めるのは当然だが、金融機関が注入の申請をためらっては本末転倒になる。

For the time being, the government should put priority on strengthening banks' capital bases to restore a healthy flow of credit through the economy so that small and medium-sized firms can also get the cash they need to stay in business.

当面は、資本注入が進んで中小企業へも融資が回る状態をつくることを優先すべきだ。

The government also needs to press the banks that have received public funds into increasing their loans to smaller corporate borrowers.

注入した金融機関に対しては、中小企業融資へ活用するよう求めることも必要だ。 

The government has promised to increase the amount of money set aside for the cash injection program from the 2 trillion yen under the old law, but it has yet to decide on the size. The program should be expanded drastically to encourage banks to apply.

 また公的資金の総枠も、旧金融機能強化法時代の2兆円から拡大するとしているが、金額は未定だ。

ここは利用を促すためにも、思い切った額を用意するべきだろう。

Kaoru Yosano, state minister in charge of economic and fiscal policy, once suggested making 10 trillion yen available for the cash infusion plan. That would be a reasonable amount.

与謝野経済財政相が「10兆円」と語ったことがあるが、それくらいあってもいい。 

The chief executives of financial institutions that lend mainly to small and medium-sized companies should seriously consider how to take advantage of the program. The future business prospects of such institutions can be blighted unless they make serious efforts to increase loyal customers over the long term.

 この新制度をどう生かすか、とくに中小企業向け金融機関の経営者はよく考えてほしい。長い目で顧客を育てていかないと、自分たちの経営も先細りしていく。

Domestic banks now need long-term business strategies that also pay attention to the social roles they should play.

銀行の社会的使命も考慮した長期戦略が今こそ求められる。

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