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2013年10月13日 (日)

みずほ問題融資 組織的な責任を明確にせよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun October 13, 2013
Mizuho Bank should clarify responsibility over dubious loans
みずほ問題融資 組織的な責任を明確にせよ(10月12日付・読売社説)

Examples of Mizuho Bank’s poor handling of its recent loan scandal have been revealed one after another as its explanations of the matter flip-flop. We urge the bank to draw up drastic reform measures, including a management reshuffle.

The core retail banking unit of Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Mizuho Bank, has come under fire over loans extended to members of criminal organizations through its affiliated consumer credit firm, Orient Corp.

The bank initially told inspectors of the Financial Services Agency, and said at a press conference that information about the loans only reached as far up as executives in charge of compliance. However, Mizuho Bank President Yasuhiro Sato changed the company’s story at another press conference Tuesday, saying then President Satoru Nishibori had been made aware of the dubious lending.

Sato also said an internal investigation had revealed that documents showing the loans to gangsters were distributed at meetings, including a board meeting that Sato attended.

However, Sato said he did not perceive the matter as a problem, as he could not remember seeing the documents or receiving reports of the loans. Such a statement is too irresponsible.

Although the bank’s senior officials, including top executives, repeatedly had access to the relevant documents, the loans were left unaddressed. None of the executives insisted that the loans be canceled immediately. In light of this, the bank does not deserve the status of a megabank, which is expected to keep strict legal compliance.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga criticized the bank at a press conference, saying, “In terms of common sense, the bank bears a grave responsibility as an organization.” This criticism is reasonable.

For the time being, a third-party committee set up by the bank and comprising three experts plans to investigate the matter. Based on the probe’s findings, the bank intends to work out plans to improve its business, which are scheduled to be submitted to the FSA late this month, and decide on internal punishments.

Self-corrective action is key

It is crucial that Mizuo Bank fully cooperate with the third-party panel to eliminate the problem by itself. The bank must carry out preventive measures thoroughly.

However, it remains unclear whether the panel, which has no legal authority, can grasp the whole picture of the scandal in the limited time period of less than one month.

The FSA has ordered the bank to submit an additional report on the loans. After examining the report, the regulator is expected to consider taking the additional step of imposing administrative penalties on the bank.

But questions have been raised as to whether the FSA’s call for the additional report is sufficient to determine whether the bank acted maliciously to obstruct the watchdog’s inspections, such as by covering up the loans. The FSA should consider conducting additional on-site inspections and taking stricter steps to unveil the truth behind the scandal.

In its inspection, which started in December, the agency did not question the bank’s sloppy report and dealt with the matter only by imposing a light administrative punishment. Was the FSA lenient in its inspection of the bank? The agency must view the matter gravely.

This fiscal year, the FSA eased inspection criteria, including leaving the screening of small loans to financial institutions. Promoting the extension of new loans is important, but compliance is a separate issue and should not be compromised. Wrongdoings such as lending to crime syndicates and money laundering should be supervised more strictly.

(From The Yomiui Shimbun, Oct. 12, 2013)
(2013年10月12日01時39分  読売新聞)


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