Softbank Starts Online Banking Service in Japan

TOKYO (04/11/2000) - Aggressive Internet investment firm Softbank Corp. took its first steps into the world of banking today with the launch of an online banking service, although it is keeping in mind a plan to form a bank of its own.

The new service, the Suruga Bank Softbank Branch, is a venture between Suruga Bank Ltd., a mid-size regional bank based in Shizuoka, and Softbank wholly-owned subsidiary Softbank Finance Corp. Together, the two companies aim to bring Suruga's banking operations to customers nationwide via the Internet, i-mode Internet-capable cellular telephones and telephone banking.

Initial services include both deposit and savings accounts, loans and credit cards, and the company is doubling the normal interest rate on savings -- something it says it can afford to do because of the savings it will gain from having no network of brick-and-mortar branches. Customers of the bank can use a nationwide network of ATMs (automated teller machines) to get at their money.

The tie-up will give Softbank some much-needed experience in online banking operations ahead of a planned takeover of Nippon Credit Bank (NCB), a collapsed bank currently under Japanese government control. Softbank leads a group that includes Tokio Marine & Fire Insurance Co. and leasing company Orix Corp. It has been given priority rights until April 30 to negotiate to take over the bank and is currently putting together a deal.

Softbank has been a keen investor in online financial service companies, and its roster of group companies in Japan includes stock brokerage E-Trade Securities Co. Ltd., consumer loan issuer E-Loan Japan Co. Ltd., credit card issuer E*NetCard Co. Ltd., financial advice provider E-Advisor Ltd. and insurance broker InsWeb Ltd.

The new online bank can be found on the web at Softbank, based in Tokyo, is online at Suruga Bank, in Numazu, Shizuoka, is online at

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

More about E-LoanInsWebOrixSoftbankSuruga Bank

Show Comments