Press Conference by Taro Aso, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, and Minister of State for Financial Services


(Tuesday, June 20, 2017, 10:22 am to 10:29 am)

[Questions and answers:]


Yesterday, Japan Post Bank was given approval to begin offering uncollateralized loans and other services to retail customers. As you have previously expressed concern about the bank’s screening capabilities, could you please tell us why these operations have been approved now and how this business is expected to develop in future?


We will need to make clear that Japan Post Bank’s new business has now been given approval under the Postal Service Privatization Act. Approval under the Banking Act is another matter altogether. The views of the Postal Privatization Committee were taken into account, and it was determined from a variety of viewpoints and perspectives that there were no problems in terms of fair competition with other financial institutions or of user services. Bank branches have been disappearing from rural areas for a variety of reasons, and the decision to approve these operations was based on the fact that the people living in rural areas regularly use post offices. In addition to this approval, though, Japan Post Bank will need separate approval under the Banking Act to carry out these new operations, and it is unclear whether the bank is capable of doing so. There are questions about its screening abilities: will staff inexperienced in lending operations be asked to perform these operations, how will borrowers be screened, and so on. Consequently, we will have to wait and see until these questions can be answered. Among the new operations will be account overdraft lending services. Suppose you have one million yen in savings at Japan Post Bank. Each month you withdraw 200,000 yen, and five months have passed. This turns out not to be enough. You seek to borrow another 50,000 yen, though you have no collateral. Still, you manage to borrow the money. Let’s say that there is an upper limit of 500,000 yen; such cases would involve account overdraft lending services. There is a little over two years left until January 2019 to consider how screening will be carried out, and during that time Japan Post Bank will be going through the approval application process stipulated in the Banking Act. The Financial Services Agency (FSA) will be reviewing this application once it has been submitted – no application has been submitted yet – but the FSA will be carrying out the review after the application has been received. Because Japan Post Bank will be offering these services as a listed company, the corporate value of Japan Post Bank as a listed company should inevitably rise, and we hope to see the bank cooperate closely with private financial institutions to improve user convenience. There are various locales that have only post offices, and in that sense I feel that they will contribute strongly to local revitalization. How will this turn out? Collecting deposits and lending money are somewhat similar but not the same and, since such opportunities will be unusual, I do not think that the window staff will be able to handle loans, and they will send applications up to the head office for screening. I do not think they will be able at the outset to perform such services unless they carry out the screening at the head office or elsewhere.

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