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2010年5月20日 (木)

大手銀行黒字 成長戦略で金融の役割果たせ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (May. 20, 2010)
Major banks should play role in growth strategy
大手銀行黒字 成長戦略で金融の役割果たせ(5月19日付・読売社説)

Even though the nation's leading banks have overcome the severe state of affairs they found themselves in, future prospects are far from rosy. Their earnings reports for the business year ending in March clearly indicate the financial sector needs to tackle a number of problems.

Consolidated settlement of accounts for the country's six major banking groups showed that they all posted group net profits, which when combined exceeded 1 trillion yen. Their business performances are a significant improvement over the previous year, when four of the groups reported losses.

This can be attributed to reduced bad debt reserves as the economy has picked up. The business recovery has helped reduce the number of major companies collapsing and improved bank customers' businesses. The rise in stock prices, which plunged sharply in the previous business year, also helped improve the financial health of banks as a result of reduced appraisal losses in stockholdings.

However, bank profits are only about one-third of what they were before the global financial crisis hit following the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Using a point system, we can say that although the banks racked up few "minus points," or losses, they still failed to raise their scores sufficiently.


Don't restrict lending

Four banking groups saw declines in net business profits--those incurred from lendings and other core businesses. Though Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. chalked up increased profits for the 2009 business year, they were inflated by profits from bond transactions.

Major banks are not the only ones affected. Commercial financial institutions as a whole are experiencing declines in outstanding loans and shrinking net interest margin. But banks should not restrict loans by overreacting to risks and depending too much on bond investment and other operations to ensure profits.

After government-affiliated financial institutions have taken steps to deal with the lingering crisis, private-sector banks will need to fulfill their financing functions, including raising funds for small and midsize companies, which are the lifeblood nourishing the Japanese economy.

It is essential for major banks to contribute to the country's economic growth, which is being adversely affected by deflation. The public and private sectors should cooperate to carry out growth strategies to prevent the economy from going downhill again.


Selecting promising firms

Banks should lend funds to companies in promising fields to support the government's growth strategy.

Businesses in emerging economies in Asia and elsewhere are highly promising. In this respect, it will become increasingly important to provide appropriate financial services to infrastructure projects and companies that establish branches in such countries.

As there are a limited number of financial experts versed in the various laws and customs in such countries, it is crucial to secure and train such human resources.

Healthy financial conditions are also vital for banks to survive in this competitive world. Stricter international requirements on banks' capital adequacy are scheduled to start at the end of 2012. Major banks contend they have been prepared to comply with this requirement since last year.

Yet, financial markets around the world are still volatile due partly to global stock price declines that have spread from Europe. Banks must remain alert to possible confusion in the markets.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 19, 2010)
(2010年5月19日01時44分  読売新聞)


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