Banks are targeting women in their strategies to expand their customer base as they grow more inclined to buy homes and invest in stocks and other financial products.

“Generally speaking, women have solid plans for purchase and repayment, and we see them as trustworthy customers,” an official at a major commercial bank said.

On May 8, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. set up a branch in Minato Ward, Tokyo, specifically targeting women. At the outlet, planned by an all-female project team, female bank workers offer advice on asset management and home mortgages to potential clients.

“We have created an outlet that we intended for make women to feel was easy to enter,” said Rie Asayama, head of the project team. “We hope the outlet helps us establish long and firm relations with local female customers.”

Many banks, including Chuo Mitsui Trust & Banking Co. and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, are stepping up efforts to market financial products designed for women.

Among such products are housing loans with relatively low interest rates and no charges for forward repayment.

Banks are also eyeing women as potential investors.

Resona Bank held an investor relations seminar in Tokyo in March, targeting working women as potential investors. The seminar, the first of its kind by a big Japanese bank, drew applications from some 600 women for 180 seats.

“We have received more than the expected number of applications, and we indeed felt there is growing interest in asset management among women,” a Resona Bank official said.

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