In the previous articles (http://bizliaison.jp/archives/209 and http://bizliaison.jp/archives/285), I suggested indirect communication with banks regarding your application of property investment loan. Have your agents discuss with them on your behalf.
Based on my experience, there are rationales to support the communication style above.
Banks prefer such communication style
I guess they do not want to be bothered by miscellaneous queries from investors. In a sense, property agents serve as a buffer for the banks in terms of communication with the end-clients. Since property agents are experienced with property loan application, they would advise or take the investors through a series of preparation steps while the banks are least bothered.
Property agents highly motivated to smooth the communication between two parties
I’m sure any property agent is highly motivated to smoothly proceed with bank review. Successful loan review is very likely to be linked to their agency fee at the end of the settlement. No wonder they are very happy to take on the role of liaison. Agents prefer the role than just doing nothing and watching inefficient communication between the bank and their client. They will advise you on what’s the quickest way to the goal and patiently explain to you why you need to do this and that.
Emails rarely replied by banks
Lastly, indirect communication works better because the communication protocol among local banks is very different from general business custom.
Before getting involved in property business, I had been very much accustomed to two-way communication. If I emailed, my counterpart would reply. If I called and left a message because the counterpart was not available, the person would return my call in most cases. I assume this type of two-way communication should be a norm for businesses in any part of the globe.
However, I recently realized it is hardly applicable to the Japanese banks. They receive emails and calls but rarely reply or return calls. I would say one out of 50 calls for the chance of call backs. To be frank, I’ve received email replies only a few times in my life. They surely received my emails and must have read and understood but just kept them without replying. The amount of communication flows between the parties concerned can be illustrated as below.
To my surprise, my contact at Bank Z does not have his own email account. I asked how we could send him copies of required materials for loan application such as final returns, property registration certificate copies, transaction agreement, etc. He said “Just send them by fax”. Sending almost 100 pages by facsimile transmission??? I asked if any company email address is available, but there is none. As mentioned in the previous article (http://bizliaison.jp/archives/209), Bank Z is one of those who are known to be aggressive about property loan business.
According to some local sources, banks are strictly controlled in terms of information output. They may answer to our questions and talk to us about the current status of the preliminary examination over the phone, but they very rarely provide us with any piece of information via email. When needed (e.g. important documents are missing, any urgent matter occurs, etc.), banks call us but such occasions are not many.
The situation above may be hard to understand among the end-clients, but you need to be aware of this in advance.