New fintech companies are transforming Japan's lending sector. AI and other new technologies have eased the loan process, which has made it difficult for many Japanese businesses to access loans.
Japan's three megabanks are eyeing the space as well. Mizuho Bank started lending online to smaller businesses in May. Borrowers can receive the loans, capped at 10 million yen with a term of up to one year, in as little as two business days. MUFG Bank launched a similar service Monday. Internet-based lending platforms grew quickly in the U.S. after big banks turned off the spigot to smaller businesses following the 2008 financial crisis. OnDeck, which partners with JPMorgan Chase, has lent $10 billion since launching 11 years ago. The American market grew nearly tenfold between 2013 and 2017 to $42.8 billion, according to the University of Cambridge. The Japanese market is estimated at 40 billion yen. But further growth also comes with risks, like an increase in nonperforming loans.