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Seeking to meet consumer needs long ignored by conventional Japanese banks, IY Bank announced a first-half net profit of 104 million yen on Friday.

It was the first time for Ito-Yokado Co.’s fledgling bank to post gains since it launched operations in 2000, offering 24-hour automated teller machine banking, primarily at Seven-Eleven convenience stores.

It posted a net loss of 5.28 billion yen in the same period last year.

Boosted by May tieups with Japan Post and a 67.5 percent surge in customer ATM use from a year earlier, IY Bank is beginning to be recognized by customers.

The bank projects a net profit of 1.1 billion yen for the full year ending March 31, IY Bank President Takashi Anzai said.

But the bank still bears the weight of 20.3 billion yen in accumulated losses from initial capital expenditure and software costs.

While the bank hopes to pay off at least 1.1 billion yen of the debt this year, Anzai refused to project beyond the current business year and say when the company will shake off its debt.

“It is extremely difficult to read future revenue,” Anzai said.

He noted that this is because so much depends on how speedily other banks close their branches and use IY Bank’s ATM networks as part of their cost-cutting efforts and also on the general economic climate.

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