Ant Group Co.s consumer finance unit was cleared Thursday to start operations, nine months after the fintech affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. obtained regulatory approval last September to set up the unit.

The opening was delayed by Ant’s stranded record initial public offering in November, followed by a government-ordered overhaul to transform its business into a financial holding company that will be regulated more like a bank.

Chongqing Ant Consumer Finance Co. Ltd. can lend to individuals, accept deposits from domestic shareholders and their subsidiaries, issue bonds, borrow from domestic financial institutions, sell insurance products related to consumer finance, invest in fixed-income securities and provide consumer finance consulting services, according to a notice posted on the website of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission.