(Bloomberg) -- Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. is considering selling its U.S. banking arm, as consolidation heats up in the American financial industry, people familiar with the matter said. 

The Japanese lender is working with an adviser to explore options for MUFG Union Bank NA, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. Mitsubishi UFJ has held some informal discussions with select potential buyers of the unit, though it isn’t conducting a formal auction process, they said. 

MUFG Union Bank has about 300 branches and more than $16 billion in equity capital, or book value, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. U.S. banks have sold at a median 1.4 times book value this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. 

No final decisions have been made, and there’s no certainty the deliberations will lead to a transaction, the people said. A representative for Mitsubishi UFJ declined to comment. 

The potential sale comes as U.S. regional banks increasingly seek to pair up to to better compete with industry giants such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. and upstart fintech lenders. A hot market for bank deals has also spurred some foreign players in the U.S. to consider exiting the country. 

Spain’s Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA sold its its U.S. banking arm this year to PNC Financial Services Group Inc. for about $11.6 billion, while Bank Leumi Le-Israel BM is considering selling its New York-based lender. 

Mitsubishi UFJ acquired Union Bank in 2008 for around $3.5 billion.   

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.