Higashi-Nippon Bank announced Friday that Chairman Michito Ishii will step down at the end of the month over its involvement in improper lending practices.

Many improper loans were extended between 2015 and 2017, when Ishii, 66, was president of the regional bank.

Ishii, a former commissioner of the National Tax Agency and president of the bank from 2011 until June this year, is apparently taking responsibility for the scandal.

The post of chairman will be left vacant.

Higashi-Nippon Bank announced Ishii’s resignation when the unit of Concordia Financial Group Ltd. submitted a business improvement plan to the Financial Services Agency. The plan included strengthening corporate governance to prevent such misdeeds, which included the collection of fees for unclear reasons, from recurring.

“We’ll do our best to implement the plan and make efforts to restore trust,” President Tomoo Okanda told a news conference.

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