• Kyodo

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Toyota Corp. said Thursday it has applied for a banking license in the United States in an effort to boost its earning power there.

Japan’s biggest automaker applied for a thrift company license in Nevada through Toyota Financial Services Americas Corp., a U.S. unit of its group financial firm, Toyota Financial Services Co., based in Nagoya, the company said.

With the license, it will offer a range of financial services, including issuing credit cards and providing consumer loans to customers.

It is the first time a Japanese automaker has acquired a U.S. banking license, although U.S. automakers and distributors as well as other firms outside the banking industry often operate banking businesses.

Toyota also hopes to attract more wealthy individual clients to buy its high-end cars.

The company plans to strengthen support for its U.S. sales subsidiaries and group dealers by providing them with fund management facilities.

But it said it is not looking to start a full-fledged banking business unrelated to the automobile industry.

Toyota said it chose to apply for the license in Nevada because there are relatively few nonbank companies entering the banking sector there.

Toyota expects the license to be approved as early as April.

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