UPDATE 1-Japan’s SBI Holdings, Fukushima Bank to form capital tie-up -NHK

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese internet banking giant SBI Holdings Inc (8473.T) and Fukushima Bank Ltd (8562.T) will form a capital and strategic tie-up through an investment of up to 20% by SBI in the regional lender, public broadcaster NHK reported on Monday.

The future of Japan’s regional lenders is a focus for investors after years of negative interest rates and a declining population have sapped profits and raised questions about their ability to survive.

An SBI Holdings spokesman told Reuters the two companies had been in talks and that an announcement on the discussions would be made after a formal decision is reached at a Fukushima Bank board meeting on Monday.

SBI announced in September it would invest in Shimane Bank Ltd (7150.T), a regional bank in western Japan.

Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; editing by Richard Pullin

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