A mixed set of first-quarter results
at Japan’s leading banks has done little to clarify whether the
country’s financial services industry has yet pulled itself out of
the economic maelstrom.

Though both Mitsubishi UFJ (MUFG)
and Sumitomo Mitsui returned to the black, reporting net income for
the three months to 30 June of ¥75.9 billion ($792 million) and
¥72.8 billion respectively, rival Mizuho slid to a net loss of ¥4.5

At MUFG, consumer deposits rose on the quarter
from ¥62.9 trillion to ¥63.6 trillion, but the bank’s ambitions to
bolster its mortgage lending business took a blow as housing loans
dipped from ¥19.5 trillion to ¥19.4 trillion.

Mizuho’s banking business made a loss of ¥41.4
billion in the quarter compared with ordinary profit of ¥88.8
billion a year previous, while Sumitomo Mitsui’s own banking
business saw ordinary profit fall from ¥105 billion to ¥43.2
billion year-on-year.

Elsewhere, the country’s fourth-largest bank,
Resona, saw first-quarter profit fall by 17.2 percent year-on-year
to ¥54.9 billion. The figure was nonetheless more than the ¥23.6
billion the bank earned in the first three months of 2009.

Results were also mixed at Shinsei and Aozora,
the two US-held institutions which agreed to merge earlier this
year (see RBI 616).

Shinsei reported net income of ¥5.1 billion,
down 52.4 percent year-on-year, though the bank’s rejuvenated
retail banking division saw improved performance, posting a profit
of ¥1.7 billion versus a ¥300 million loss a year previous. Aozora,
meanwhile, reported an 86 percent year-on-year rise in net profit
to ¥5.4 billion, the first increase for two years.

A less promising announcement on 10 August saw
the Japanese Financial Services Agency announce that the
outstanding balance of NPLs at 120 Japanese banks had risen by ¥553
billion year-on-year to ¥12 trillion as of 31 March 2009 – the
first such increase in seven years.