TOKYO -- IBM Japan Ltd. will launch a company next month that will provide information technology outsourcing services to regional banks in Japan.

Regional Bank Solution and Services Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of IBM Japan, will begin operations in Tokyo early next year. The company will start with a staff of 50 information technology specialists, which is expected to triple by the end of next year.

Banks that outsource to IBM Japan will invest in Regional Bank Solution, which will provide the technology services.

Tadayoshi Miyamura, financial services sector vice president at IBM Japan, said that by sharing information technology with one another and IBM, the banks will be able to build closer ties with their communities and provide more attentive customer service.

IBM Japan, which already does more than $950 million of information technology business with regional banks, plans to have outsourcing agreements with at least 20 banks by 2005, Mr. Miyamura said.

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