NEW YORK -- Daiwa Bank Ltd., Japan's eighth-largest commercial bank, plans to open a loan production office in Cleveland early next year.

A spokesman in Tokyo said the bank expects to obtain approval from Ohio state regulators after Jan. 1.

The $171 billion-asset bank, based in Osaka, has 16 offices in the United States, including branches in New York and Chicago, an agency in Los Angeles, a New York Trust company, and a representative office in Houston.

Covering Ohio Market

The Cleveland office will be responsible for all business in Ohio, said Michael Shehorn, vice president and manager for Daiwa in Pittsburgh. He added that the Cleveland office will put a major emphasis on lending to small and medium-sized companies.

Daiwa's move into the Ohio market runs counter to closings of offices last year by three foreign banks -- Barclays PLC, the Bank of Nova Scotia, and Bayerische Vereinsbank. These banks consolidated Cleveland business in Chicago or New York branches.

"Our feasibility studies show that there is adequate business to be sourced in Ohio," said a Daiwa executive in Chicago who declined to be named.

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