Softbank Announces First Move into 'Net Banking

TOKYO (01/27/2000) - Softbank Finance, a unit of Japan's Internet-centered Softbank Corp., today offered details of its first moves in the field of online banking.

The company said it plans to team up with Suruga Bank Ltd., a regional bank based in Shizuoka, to offer online banking services. The medium-sized regional bank already operates its own Internet banking service and the tie-up will benefit Softbank by giving it some much needed knowledge of the banking industry.

A spokesman for Softbank, Shawn Sehy, declined to confirm reports that the company will make similar arrangements with other banks.

The news was announced today by Softbank Chief Financial Officer Yoshitaka Kitao at a Tokyo investors meeting at which the company was outlining its plans for the coming months, said Sehy.

Softbank also announced plans to later this year list shares of E-Trade Japan K.K., its online trading joint venture with E-Trade Group Inc. of the U.S. The company would be listed on the Nasdaq Japan market, a new stock market being established by Softbank and the National Securities Dealers Association, in the third quarter of this year. The spokesman could not confirm whether that meant the third quarter of the calendar year or the fiscal year, which would be the October to December period.

Separate from the tie-up with Suruga Bank, Softbank is also eyeing the establishment of an Internet-based bank of its own.

Softbank, in Tokyo, can be reached via the Web at http://www.softbank.co.jp/.

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