Suruga’s irresponsible loan caused my life to end

Date of publication: 7th May, 2022

I am a 49 year old businessman, a foreigner living in Japan. I purchased an apartment building in 2017 with a loan of 140 million yen from Suruga Bank. I am currently struggling with property problems and high repayments, and wondering if there is any future for me in my life.

Loan agreement in a conference room at Suruga Bank, the banker knowing that I do not understand Japanese.

In June 2016, I attended a real estate seminar hosted by Company P which had been introduced by a colleague. After the seminar, Mr. T of Company P introduced Mr. Y of Company M to me. Mr. T explained that Mr. Y had the best properties, was honest, and was a good guy with the best service. Later, Mr. Y proposed an apartment building to me. He explained that the property had 18 rooms including tenant offices and was expected to generate approximately 1 million yen in monthly rental income, with an estimated loan repayment of approximately 700,000 yen per month, which would generate sufficient profits. I decided to purchase the property based on the property’s profitability, the introduction from my colleague, and my faith in the integrity of the Japanese people.
In June 2017, we signed a purchase agreement for the property at Company M’s office in Nishi-Azabu, with Company P’s Mr. T in attendance. At the same time, through Mr. Y of Company M, I completed the loan application process with Suruga Bank. I could not read Japanese, but Mr. T told me, “Suruga Bank is a highly reputable bank. There is nothing wrong with the contents of the application, so you should be fine,” then he filled out the necessary information and affixed seals on the documents on my behalf.
Later, in a conference room at the Tokyo branch of Suruga Bank in Nihonbashi, a loan agreement was signed in the presence of Mr. N, an employee of the bank, Mr. Y of Company M, and Mr. T of Company P. This was the first time I met Suruga Bank employees in this transaction. Until then, Mr. Y and Mr. T had handled all meetings and e-mails with Suruga Bank. When I told them that I did not understand what they were saying, they assured me that everything would be fine and proceeded with the procedure one after another. After I finished filling out all the forms, Mr. T said with a laugh, “Many foreigners have trouble affixing seals to documents,” and proceeded to affix seals to all the forms in front of Mr. N, the bank employee, on my behalf.

The property had many problems, and major repairs that had been never explained.

I decided to purchase the property because I was told that it was “expected to generate sufficient profit,” but in fact, it was not true at all. The average rent income was only 650,000 yen at best. Furthermore, unexpected major repairs cost large amounts of money. Waterproofing cost 5 million yen, and every time residents moved in or out, renovation work on each room cost from 400,000 yen to 1.2 million yen, which completely wiped out my savings. After my savings ran out, I had to use my salary to pay back Suruga Bank, and I found myself in a very difficult situation.

Suruga Bank had cheated on me as well.

When I learned about the fraudulent loans made by Suruga Bank to investment properties, including share houses, I investigated to see if I was also involved, and found that there were many irregularities and falsifications in the property information and contracts regarding my loan. For example, there was blatant falsification of my bank statements, which were the documents used for loan approval of Suruga Bank. The Suruga Bank employees knew that my documents were falsified, and yet they forced me to take out a fraudulent loan together with Company M and Company P.
I also learned later that only bank employees are allowed to be present at the signing of a loan agreement. Of course the banker Mr. N knew it, and yet he allowed Mr. Y and Mr. T, who were real estate agents, to be present when he signed the contract with me. I strongly suspect that the banker Mr. N had a very familiar relationship with Mr. Y, Mr. T, and other real estate agents.

The Suruga Bank’s fraudulent loans have caused a number of misfortunes…

Due to problems of the property and painful repayments, I have become severely depressed. My girlfriend found out about my debts and she and I lost our marriage proposal, because her family would not allow her to marry someone who had huge loans from Suruga Bank or had a bad property. My mother passed away partly because she could not bear to see me suffer under the stress of this whole affair. I am really feeling guilty for having told her about the debt and that I borrowed money from her to pay for the repairs. I have not slept well for over 4 years since I purchased the property. I have gained weight due to stress and am suffering from alcohol dependency, which I had never experienced before this incident.
I am wondering if I have any future at all because of this problem that has happened to me due to Suruga Bank’s lack of governance and disregard for compliance in its business operations. I only hope that one day I will have the opportunity to live a normal life, free from the huge debt hell that was inflicted on me by the fraudulent loans.

<Editor’s Comment>

This case is a truly outrageous example of Suruga Bank colluding with unscrupulous real estate agents to forcibly extend fraudulent loans even to foreigners like Mr. D, who could not understand Japanese at all. In order to achieve an excessive quota, the Suruga Bank employees cheated Ms. D, who was working desperately in Japan and did not understand the language, and plunged him into debt hell. As a result, Mr. D’s marriage was ruined and his mother had to go through a lot of hardship and passed away while watching him suffer.
A bank, which is a public institution of society, and which depends on the trust of its customers, preys on foreigners who do not understand Japanese, and makes them unhappy for the sake of its own profit. Such despicable behavior is absolutely unacceptable. We sincerely hope that Mr. D’s problem will be resolved as soon as possible, and that he will be able to live a peaceful life as soon as possible.