ShinGinko Tokyo began operations Friday.

The unique bank established by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government provides swift financing to cash-strapped small and midsize firms.

The bank, whose creation was proposed by Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, plans to extend loans to small businesses without collateral. It also aims to support firms whose liabilities exceed their assets, as long as they have stable cash flows.

The new bank also plans to issue depositors “smart cards” with multiple functions, including those of bank, credit, railway and frequent-flyer cards.

The bank said that as of 3 p.m., 185 customers had visited its headquarters in Tokyo’s Otemachi district and it had received 403 calls from parties seeking financing and another 550 calls asking about deposits.

For its initial business year, the bank aims to extend corporate loans worth 270 billion yen and accept 460 billion yen in savings deposits, it said.

“I believe there is a huge market for loans to small businesses,” Chief Executive Officer Yasumasa Nishi told a news conference. “The market is limitless.”

He said many firms currently lack funds for capital investments.

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