Nichiei Co. President Kazuo Matsuda on Thursday admitted that some employees might have been extremely heavy-handed in trying to collect on loans and apologized for causing trouble to the public.

Matsuda’s admission and apology came during a session of the House of Councilors Committee on Financial Affairs, which summoned him to give unsworn testimony amid allegations that the nonbank moneylender practiced aggressive loan-collection methods.

During the same session, Matsuda expressed his intention to step down from the presidency of the Japan Federation of Moneylenders Associations to take responsibility for the problem.

He stressed, however, that he intends to remain president of Nichiei, claiming he will take all measures possible and instruct employees not to cause similar problems again.

Nichiei is the largest finance company specializing in “shoko” loans, which carry high interest rates and are provided to small companies. No collateral is required for the loans, but they must be guaranteed by a third party.

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