Japanese e-commerce conglomerate and prominent fintech investor Rakuten is to launch a commercial banking operation in Europe from its Luxembourg headquarters.
Initially focusing on providing payment, deposit and loan services for merchants on the PriceMinister e-commerce platform in France, Rakuten Europe Bank plans to expand these services to provide banking-as-a-service facilities to high growth fintech businesses across the region.
The company already operates an online banking service on its home turf, providing personal and commercial banking service to some 3.8 million account holders.
Masayuki Hosaka, head of Rakuten’s fintech businesses, says: “With Rakuten Europe Bank, we aim to provide banking services in Europe that will parallel the successes of the Rakuten Group’s Fintech businesses in Japan.”
Rakuten established a $100 million fintech fund in late 2015 and since taken stakes in a multitude of disruptive startup operations across Europe and North America. Prominent companies in the group's portfolio include Currency Cloud, Azimo, Payoneer, BlueVine and Kreditech.
The company in August also opened a blockchain development lab in Belfast to cater for its expanding portfolio of investments in the fintech arena.