Japan’s regional lenders Taisho Bank and Tomony Holdings, which owns peer banks in the Shikoku region, are considering business integration in spring 2016.

Relevant parties, including Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Taisho Bank’s largest shareholder, have reached the final stage of talks to take over Tomony Holdings.

The merged bank will become 39th-largest regional banking group catering to customers in Kansai and Shikoku.

The merger of Tomony and Taisho Bank may pave the way for other banks to set up cross-regional associations headquartered in major cities.

Taisho Bank, a second-tier regional bank based in Osaka, provides services mainly in Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo while Tomony Holdings, which opened in April 2010, is headquartered in Takamatsu of Kagawa Prefecture and owns Kagawa Bank and Tokushima Bank in Tokushima Prefecture.