March 25, 2016 / 8:11 AM / 3 years ago

Japan Post Bank picks veteran regional banker as president

TOKYO, March 25 (Reuters) - Japan Post Bank said on Friday it has named Norito Ikeda, veteran regional banker, as successor to President Masatsugu Nagato, who becomes the chief of the parent company.

The job of Japan Post Bank president has been becoming only tougher, as the bank, the biggest in Japan with a $1.8 trillion portfolio, faces diminishing investment returns, which has been made worse by the Bank of Japan’s negative interest rate policy.

The top manager also needs to court its smaller rivals, which see the bank as a grave threat to their survival. After its initial public offering in November, the bank has been seeking to establish business ties with regional lenders.

Ikeda, 68, started his career at Bank of Yokohama Ltd , one of the largest regional lenders in Japan. He also served as president of Ashikaga Bank, another regional lender.

Currently, he is president of a state-backed entity tasked with helping businesses hit hard by the massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. His appointment at Japan Post Bank is effective on April 1.

Current President Nagato is replacing Japan Post Holdings Co CEO Taizo Nishimuro, who has been hospitalised since last month for unspecified tests.

$1 = 112.9200 yen Reporting by Taiga Uranaka; Editing by Michael Perry

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