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The Financial Services Agency has asked prefectural governments to screen applications from prospective loan business operators more stringently to stave off illegal lending.

The FSA made the request Tuesday due to an increase in the number of operators lending money at illegally high interest rates and registering with local governments to gain customer trust, FSA officials said.

Applicants are currently only required to present a copy of their residence certificates.

The FSA has asked that starting April, applicants also submit a driver’s license or other documents with photographs to enable authorities to confirm the identity of each applicant, the officials said.

Additionally, the FSA asked that an emphasis be put on inspecting lenders registered in the last three years.

According to the request, prefectural governments will question both applicants and their sales managers about their businesses.

The FSA hopes the measure will stop malicious loan operators, who often operate without offices and use cell phones to promote lending and collect debts.

The prefectural governments will also ask applicants to submit maps of their office neighborhoods and a copy of the registry book of their office buildings to confirm they are not associated with gangsters.

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