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Favored lending for pro-biodiversity firms

For the first time in Japan, Shiga Bank, Ltd. of Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture, has introduced a preferential lending system for companies conducting business with an eye to the protection of biological diversity such as the preservation of the ecological system and species.
The bank evaluates borrowers on the basis of eight criteria linked to biodiversity, including management policy, promotion/control systems, details of activities and announcement of results, and gives marks on a 100-point scale. The bank established the ""Principles for Lake Biwa"" Support Fund in 2005, and has since been rating by its own criteria companies trying to reduce greenhouse-effect gases. Depending on the rating, the bank cuts its lending rate by up to 0.5 percentage point. If a borrower meets the new biodiversity standards as well, the lending rate will be slashed by another 0.1 point for a maximum cut of 0.6 point. As the 10th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP10) will be held in Nagoya City, central Japan, in October 2010, the bank aims to encourage its corporate clients to take environmental measures.

For inquiries, please contact Public Relations Office, Shiga Bank, Ltd. (Tel: 077-521-2202; URL: http://www.shigagin.com/)