Rakuten International Commercial Bank Co (樂天國際商銀), the nation’s first Web-only bank, aims to attract new clients by offering more attractive lending and deposit rates, but is cautious about funding young borrowers without credit records, the bank said yesterday.
At an event celebrating its first full month of operation in Taipei, the bank said it is offering a 50 percent discount on lending rates for consumers applying for personal loans from today until March 22.
The virtual bank allows customers to open accounts and file for loan applications via its mobile app.
Photo: Kao Shih-ching, Taipei Times
People aged 30 to 50 were the bank’s major group of customers in the past one month, Rakuten Bank chief executive officer Kazuhiko Saiki said.
However, the bank expects to reach out to people in their 20s through a mobile payment service it plans to launch, and hopes to secure more customers older than 50 going forward, Saiki said, adding that inclusive finance is the bank’s goal.
Asked how the bank assesses lending risks and sets interest rates for new customers, Saiki said it has built a model to calculate risks, with factors including age, assets and income.
The bank would be very careful about loan applications by people who have no credit cards or credit records at the Joint Credit Information Center (金融聯合徵信中心), as it would take more time and effort to calculate their risks, Saiki said.
“We will review their case one by one... We might ask them to provide more information and arrange more phone interviews with them, as there will be no relevant records that we can use,” Saiki said.
The bank is still likely to lend money to people without credit records if they provide solid information, and the likelihood is higher if they are users of the bank’s affiliates, such as Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten Inc, as the bank would know them better, Rakuten Bank chairman Chien Ming-ren (簡明仁) added.
From yesterday until March 22, the bank is also offering an interest rate of 0.55 percent for 66-day fixed deposits, with the interest rate to be raised to 1.1 percent if the Rakuten Monkeys win the CPBL championship this year.
“It is common in Japan for a product marketing activity to be linked to sports games,” Saiki said. “We want to try this strategy, too, [in Taiwan] and hope to leave a deeper impression on local consumers.”
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