Sony Corp. formally established an Internet bank Monday, April 2, which is set to become the first lender in Japan set up by a non-financial company. "The bank was incorporated today," said Sony spokeswoman Ayako Hashimoto.
"It is expected to receive official approval (to start banking services) from the government in a month or so," she said. Sony Bank Inc. received preliminary approval from the Financial Services Agency on March 23. "Actual banking services will start in June," Hashimoto said.
The new bank will initially offer services including yen deposit accounts and investment trusts. Within the first year, Sony said it hoped to add foreign currency accounts, a credit card business and housing loans.
Capitalized at 37.5 billion yen ($297.6 million), Sony Bank is owned 80 percent by Sony. Sakura Bank Ltd. has a 16 percent stake and US investment bank JP Morgan the rest. Starting with 80 employees, Sony Bank aims to have 400,000 accounts worth 600 billion yen within three years, rising to 600,000 worth one trillion yen in five years. —(AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2001
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