In Japan, details were being finalized last week of a plan in which several regional banks will join forces to securitize loans by small and medium-sized entities. The Nago City Government, located in Okinawa Prefecture, invited several banks to take advantage of its status as one of Japan's deregulated zones for financial transactions by establishing a special purpose company in the city.

By pooling together the loans, banks can take advantage of tax advantages in the city to set up an SPC, a process much cheaper than securitizing individually. At least seven banks, including Hiroshima Bank and San-in Godo Bank, will sign up for the program, which could be worth anything between 20 billion ($194.6 million) and 100 billion. An inaugural transaction is expected in June.

Meanwhile, one of the country's largest credit card firms JCB Co. has launched a 10 billion revolving offering through its JCB Funding vehicle. The deal, managed by Daiwa Securities, features six fixed-rate tranches, rated triple-A by Moody's Investor's Service, with expected maturities between four and five years. Closing is expected in early February.

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