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Report: Mizuho Financial to tie up with Shizuoka Bank

Mizuho Financial Group Inc. plans to tie up with Japanese regional bank Shizuoka Bank Ltd., which has close ties with domestic rival Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., The Nikkei reported March 20, without citing sources.

Calling it a "surprising partnership," the publication said the move will cover a range of services for retail customers, and small and mid-sized businesses, including the gradual farming out by Mizuho Financial of new home loan contracts in Shizuoka Prefecture to the regional bank. The group's Mizuho Trust & Banking Co. Ltd. unit will also support Shizuoka Bank in managing the succession of certain client assets.

The partnership comes as Mizuho Financial seeks to boost its efficiency under the central bank's negative interest rate policy. It will be the first of the group's broader efforts to cut costs and redistribute operations through partnerships with regional banks, the publication noted.

The two companies plan to announce a general agreement in March at the earliest, with the move said to have been "unofficially reported" to authorities.

As of March 31, 2017, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., a unit of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, held a 3.39% stake in Shizuoka Bank.