200 City jobs under threat from Japanese bank deal

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The Independent Online
AT LEAST 200 City jobs could be at risk after three of Japan's biggest banks - Industrial Bank of Japan, Fuji Bank and Dai-Ichi Kangyo - agreed to merge to create the world's largest financial services institution, with $1.26 trillion of assets.

Shares in the three banks soared in Tokyo after they said they would slash 6,000 jobs - around 15 per cent of headcount - reduce overheads by 100bn yen and close 150 branches in the next five years.

Masao Nishimura, IBJ president, said that the banks were determined to be "the front-runner in revitalising Japan's financial system". Japanese banks had been "left out in the cold while we tried to resolve our bad loan problems," he said.

The banks all have London branches, employing around 1,400 staff in total. A spokesman for DKB in London said yesterday that he anticipated that all overseas operations would eventually be merged.

The London staff are spread between investment and commercial banking. Fuji also has a large asset management business, Fuji Lord Abbett, which was last year's best performing fund manager in the UK. Overall the banks have 645 domestic branches and 59 overseas.

The banks said they planned to set up a joint holding company before the end of next year and integrate their operations into three business areas - retail, wholesale and investment banking, by March 2002.

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