A new bank that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government plans to open next year might extend loans to small and midsize companies without requiring personal guarantees from their owners, Tokyo officials said Friday.

This runs counter to the common lending practices of most banks. Small-company owners are usually required to put up their personal assets as collateral when asking for a loan. Under such circumstances, company owners can lose everything if their company goes under.

The metro government plans to open the new bank in April 2005, extending unsecured loans to companies with promising technology or high business potential and giving priority to loans to small and midsize businesses.

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