Sony to open Internet bank

Sony to open Internet bank

Sony has outlined plans to launch an Internet bank in June and has applied to the Japanese Financial Services Agency for a banking license for the proposed venture.

The Sony Bank Corporation has been established in association with minority partners Sakura Bank and J P Morgan. It is capitalised at Y37.5 billion (Sony 80%, Sakura Bank 16%, and J P Morgan four per cent), and plans to employ 80 staff upon opening.

The bank, which will not have any physical branches, will commence operations with a basic portfolio of services, including yen-deposit accounts, investment trusts, card loans, and bank payments. By June 2002 it plans to offer foreign currency deposit accounts, credit card business, and housing loans.

Sony is leaning on partner Sakura Bank for industry expertise and access to its domestic ATM network. In addition, J P Morgan has been brought onboard to provide a suite of online personal financial advisory tools.

Sony has set a target for the bank to gather 400,000 accounts and Y600 billion in deposits within three years of opening, rising to 600,000 accounts and Y1 trillion in deposits after five years.

Sony says the bank will use Internet and ATM distribution channels to offer "one-to-one" financial services to clients. "As these services mature, they will have the potential to create synergies with other key segments of the Sony group's finance, net-related and electronics business," says Sony in a statement.

In December Sony set out plans to launch a smart card-based digital cash system in association with leading Japanese banks and telecoms companies.

The Sony Bank Corporation has been established under the presidency of Shigeru Ishii, currently general manager of the consumer electronics company's financial service business development department.

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