Consumer electronics company Sony has been granted a banking license by the Japanese Financial Services Agency. The regulatory seal of approval is a first for a non-banking company in Japan.
Sony's application to set up an online banking operation was first lodged at the end of January. The company says it will establish Sony Bank in early April and open for business in June.
The Sony Bank Corporation has been created 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 basic services at start of operations would include yen-deposit accounts, investment trusts, card loans, and bank payments. Within the first year of operations it is also projected to move into other business lines, including foreign currency deposit accounts, credit cards, and mortgages.
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.
In December Sony set out plans to launch a smart card-based digital cash system in association with leading Japanese banks and telecoms companies.