• Kyodo News

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Acom Co. plans to lower its maximum interest rate on consumer loans to around 18 percent from the present 27 percent, becoming the first major Japanese consumer loan company to cut the maximum lending rate below 20 percent, sources said Thursday.

The plan comes well before the legal maximum lending rate is lowered to 20 percent from the present 29.2 percent in late 2009 under legislation enacted last December.

Consumer loan companies have so far depended heavily on lending rates above 20 percent for robust earnings. But Acom judged that wooing more customers by a low rate would offset expected drops in earnings to some extent, the sources said.

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