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Last Updated: Monday, 18 June 2007, 17:03 GMT 18:03 UK
Cheap loans for 'bright' Japanese
A financial services firm in Japan has begun offering lower mortgage interest rates to "intelligent" customers.

GE Consumer Finance Company is giving discounts to people who have good English or computer skills, and work in "high-value" areas such as the law.

The company says more highly skilled workers usually find it easier than others to get jobs and to keep them.

They are therefore less likely to become insolvent and default on their home loan.

GE Consumer Finance Company claims this is the first time that mortgage rates have been calculated like this in Japan.

People who have high scores on a test of English proficiency and officially certified IT skills can apply for a small discount.

Those of them who also have certain jobs - such as lawyers, accountants, doctors and financial experts - can obtain further discounts.

If a couple are both employed in the 20 "high-value" professions listed by the company, they will be entitled to a major rate reduction.

The skills of parents, children and even siblings could also help to make the mortgage cheaper.

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