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Insurers’ loan screening falls short

Kyodo

Three life and five nonlife insurers regularly extend loans via nonbank lenders without screening the borrowers themselves, sources said.

The five nonlife insurers left the screening to the consumer lenders, while the three life insurers failed to screen most of the borrowers after the nonbank lenders gave them loans, the sources said.

The lax business practices are coming to light as Mizuho Bank scrambles to respond to public criticism for using via one such group lender to issue loans to yakuza and other underworld figures.

The eight insurers are now looking into whether loans may have been given to “antisocial elements,” a catchall term that includes gangsters, the sources said.

The five nonlife entities are Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Sompo Japan Insurance Inc., Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co., Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Co. and Nipponkoa Insurance Co. The three life insurers are the Mitsui Life, Fukoku Mutual Life and Taiyo Life insurance companies.

The eight launched in-house probes after the Financial Services Agency called them out in the summer, the sources said.

To filter out the yakuza, the nonlife insurers are now screening borrowers who got loans from nonbank lenders.

The life insurers may also bolster their screening systems for potential borrowers.