Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. may repay 695 billion yen ($5.91 billion) in bailout aid it owes to the government earlier than expected, Japanese media reported on Wednesday.

SMFG, one of the three major financial groups in Japan, will officially approve a repayment method at an extraordinary board meeting scheduled later this week. It originally expected to repay the remaining debt by December 2006.

The firm received 1.5 trillion yen ($11.49 billion) in bailout aid from the government. Currently the remaining 695 billion yen is in the form of preferred stock owned by the government. The bank is planning to convert the stock into common stock and payback.

The firm said nothing in detail has been confirmed yet in an official comment released on the same day.

Two other major financial groups, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, the largest Japanese bank by assets, and Mizuho Financial Group, Japan's second-biggest bank have already repaid fully.