Five major consumer credit firms announced jointly on Feb. 7 a package of measures to deal with criticism that they are pushing up the number of personal bankruptcies by extending loans too easily.

The measures include limiting the number of firms from which a person can borrow. The five lenders — Takefuji Corp., Acom Co., Promise Co., Aiful Corp. and Sanyo Shinpan Co. — said they took the voluntary action to correct “misunderstandings” that the industry’s introduction of unattended machines to screen loan requests is allowing people to go further into debt.

According to the package of measures, the firms beginning this month will not to lend money to a new customer if that person has already borrowed from more than three other consumer credit companies. The five credit firms also said they would review their advertisements, and scrap phrases such as “simple,” “easily” and “without meeting anyone” when explaining the screening machines, which give the impression that the loans would be granted upon request. “We may have made a mistake in using such terms — for this we must do some honest soul-searching,” Acom President Kyosuke Kinoshita said.

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