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Wednesday, 31 January, 2001, 12:40 GMT
Sony to launch online bank
Sony website
The Playstation 2 could become a virtual bank branch
Sony has applied for a licence to establish an online bank in Japan.

The electronics company believes that customers may eventually be able to access their accounts via its Playstation 2 games console.

Sony has teamed up with Sakura Bank and JP Morgan to provide the online bank.

The new venture will be called Sony Bank Corp and it will be capitalised at 37.5bn yen (221m; $323m; 349m euros).

It aims to provide a range of personal banking services via the internet. There will be no physical branches.

The basic services will include yen-deposit accounts, investment trusts, card loans and bank payments.

Banking on Playstation 2

As these services mature, Sony plans to exploit other parts of its finance, internet-related and electronics business.

Eventually, this could allow customers to access banking services from their Sony Playstation 2 game console.

This opens the doors to a multitude of potential applications

Sony Computer Entertainment

The Playstation2 has a bay at the back that can accommodate a hard disk and a connection to the internet.

A spokesman for Sony Computer Entertainment in London said "this opens the doors to a multitude of potential applications" but added there were no formal plans to link online banking with Playstation2.

Shigeru Ishii, currently general manager of the financial services business development department at Sony, will head up the new bank.

The bank will also have seven directors, picked from Sony, Sakura and JP Morgan, and will employ 80 people at the start of its operations.

Operational targets

The online bank has set itself a target of pulling in 400,000 customer accounts after three years of operation.

It is also targeting 600bn yen in deposits after three years, increasing to one trillion yen after five years.

Banking targets
June 2001 start
400,000 customers after three years
600,000 customers after five years
600bn yen in deposits after three years
one trillion yen in deposits after five years

Sony has applied for a licence from Japan's Financial Services Agency to obtain a preliminary judgement for banking licence.

If the agency approves the application, Sony will move forward with a formal application. It hopes to commence operations in June 2001.

Sony Corp will take a 30bn yen equity stake (80%) in the new venture, while Sakura will have a 6bn yen stake (16%), and J.P. Morgan a 1.5bn yen (4%) share.

Sakura will provide industry expertise and access to its automatic teller machine network, while JP Morgan will offer personal financial advice tools.

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See also:

29 Jan 01 | Business
Playstation goes mobile
25 Jan 01 | Business
Playstation woes hit Sony profits
12 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Playstation 2 faults reported
08 Aug 00 | Business
PlayStation 'rip-off' anger
26 Oct 00 | Business
US stampede for Playstation 2
17 Mar 00 | Business
New glitch for PlayStation2
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