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From little Acoms.

EARLIER this year we chatted with the president of Acom, the consumer loan company that continues its inexorable march into the lives of everyday Japanese. The company's old facade as little more than a jumped-up loan sharking operation had been painstakingly scraped off, leaving instead a glitzy, well-oiled outfit that looks like it has a serious business plan. Whether or not that business plan is good for society is another matter: The company appeared most interested in dishing out loans to sections of society that are, on average, higher credit risks. So it really did seem a groundbreaking moment when the conservative Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group (MTFG) decided to tie-up with little Acom. As well as demonstrating a new appetite for riskier business lines, the dramatic shift to consumer loans is seen by most observers as a clear admission by MTFG that it may be a while before the corporate loan business returns to profitability. Japanese bank lending has tumbled every month for over six years, while the total lending balance of Japan's consumer credit firms is estimated at more than [yen]10 trillion.

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Publication:Japan Inc.
Date:May 1, 2004
Words:186
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