Using a large sample of Japanese firm level data, we find that Japanese banks act primarily in the short term interests of creditors when dealing with firms outside bank groups. Corporate control mechanisms other than bank oversight appear necessary in these firms. When dealing with firms in bank groups, banks may act in the broader interests of a range of stakeholders, including shareholders. However, our findings are also consistent with banks “propping up” troubled bank group firms. We conclude that bank oversight need not lead to value maximizing corporate governance.