WebTV Networks and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi announced Thursday they will start offering banking services via television by the end of December.

BTM’s retail customers will be able to transfer funds and check their account balance on television if they get access to WebTV, which provides Internet connection services via TV.

WebTV, whose U.S. parent company is owned by Microsoft Corp., said it is now negotiating with about 10 other financial institutions on linking up. Among them are banks, insurance companies and brokerages, which could eventually offer insurance and online trading services, WebTV officials said.

The officials said they currently have “less than 100,000 members” in Japan, while declining to give a specific figure. Through the new banking services, the firm hopes to increase the number to more than 1 million.

BTM meanwhile said the deal with WebTV is aimed at increasing its direct banking channels. The major city bank started Internet and telephone banking services in September and currently has about 50,000 members.

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