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Nine banks operating under the umbrella of six major banking groups received 19,560 applications for eased loan repayment terms from small and midsize companies and homeowners by the end of December under the debt moratorium law that took effect Dec. 4.

The applications involved ¥888.3 billion, and around 20 percent of them were approved, according to the banks.

The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ received the most applications at 6,504, involving about ¥266.3 billion, and 1,667 of them, worth ¥93.3 billion, were approved, BTMU said.

The law allows a moratorium on debt owed by smaller businesses and homeowners to ride out the global financial crisis.

It is designed to encourage banks and other financial institutions to relax repayment terms, such as by extending deadlines, for financially strapped smaller companies and individuals with home loans.

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. said it received 6,155 applications involving around ¥245.7 billion and approved 559 applications worth ¥42.4 billion.

Mizuho Bank Ltd. received 3,849 applications involving about ¥214.8 billion and approved 880 of them worth ¥83.5 billion.

“I get the impression that banks are accepting reviews of loan terms more than anticipated,” said an official at Tokyo Shoko Research Ltd., a credit research company, adding that the banks’ action is leading to a decrease in corporate failures.

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