THE Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, the world's largest bank, officially opened for business in Japan last Wednesday after a three-month delay caused by difficulties integrating computer systems.
The two banks' holding companies, Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group Inc. and UFJ Holdings Inc., had merged on October 01 to create Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (MUFG), the world's largest financial group by assets.
The bank suffered a minor computer glitch on its first day in business, reporting 10 cases of failure in remittances by corporate clients through personal computers. Some 5,000 firms are using the service.
"The cause is now under investigation but we suspect it was a software problem," a MUFG spokesman said, adding that it would not affect its entire operating system.
The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ officially came into being last Sunday but because of the new year holidays did not open for business until Wednesday, when executives held a tape-cutting ceremony at the Tokyo headquarters.
The creation of MUFG reduced to three the number of Japan's major banking groups, with the other two being Mizuho Financial Group Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc.
A Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ spokesman also confirmed that it was considering taking a stake in a Chinese lender but declined to say whether it was in negotiations with Bank of China (BoC) as reported by a newspaper here.
With its merger, MUFG shot past Citigroup of the United States for the rank of the world's biggest banking group in terms of assets which total about 190 trillion yen (1.64 trillion dollars).
A year ago, Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group and UFJ had made a combined loss of 502.6 billion yen as UFJ fell deep into the red because of bad loans.
Japan's banks are seeing a marked improvement in their fortunes as they finally emerge from a bad debts crisis stretching back over a decade as the world's second-largest economy continues on a recovery path.
Japan's government injected nearly 10 trillion yen into 16 major banks from the late 1990s to ease strains on their balance sheets and after several mega- mergers the industry is now in much better shape.