Provisional Translation

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


(Friday, September 1, 2017, 10:50 am to 11:04 am)

[Opening remarks:]

The amount of bank's card loans has become very large in recent years. In the Diet sessions, we have been frequently asked by Diet members whether there aren’t problems with this in terms of credit screening, advertising, and so on. The issue has also attracted a lot of attention from various other circles. The Japanese Bankers Association has already discussed it with member banks across the country and started taking action. The FSA wants steps to be taken swiftly to improve the way banks provide card loans, so we’ve decided to conduct detailed investigation of the way the loans are administered, conduct inspections of the card-loan business with the aim of tightening up the screening process, and launch a hotline to obtain information directly from card loan users.

[Questions and answers:]


You’ve said that the FSA is going to conduct investigations and inspections of bank's card loan business, but if, as a result of your investigations and fact-finding, you find that there are problems, might legislation or regulations be introduced to put quantitative caps on card loans from banks?


We’re not at that stage yet. The discussion in relation to the card loan business is pretty broad now.


Statistics show that the amount of card loans has been increasing, and that the number of personal bankruptcy filings has risen for the first time in 13 years. Some are saying that card loans from banks have had something to do with that, and there are concerns. If you look at volume or numbers like the balance of card loans, there’s no doubt that they’re increasing, though some are saying that the loans are not necessarily only being used for fun. It’s been pointed out that small businesses are using them as working capital, so other people are saying that it would be odd to just label them as a problem and impose blanket restrictions.


The only way we’re going to get the answers to what you’ve just talked about, namely, find out how these loans are actually being used, is by conducting a proper investigation. Opinions differ. Some say that the loans are all being taken out by people with lots of debts, but the banks are saying that people aren’t coming to borrow even though they’re ready to lend. We’ve got to hear out both sides. That’s the only way to find out what’s actually going on. That’s why we’re conducting this detailed investigation. Once that’s done, we’re going to have to look at the findings and decide what to do.

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