Japanese bankers mull extending hours for money transfers


Financial institutions are set to extend the hours during which customers can make immediate money transfers to a third party, industry sources said Friday.

The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been urging banks and financial services institutions to take steps to boost economic growth.

The Japanese Bankers Association is discussing the issue, which would affect some 1,300 institutions, including foreign banks with a presence in the country.

The association currently allows immediate settlement from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays for transactions involving accounts within the same institution, but transactions involving accounts at another bank must be made by 3 p.m. for same-day execution.

Transactions at other hours and on weekends are settled the following business day.

The JBA is considering its options and is expected to decide in December to extend period for transfers between different banks to 4 p.m. or to shift gradually to a 24-hour, 365-day operation, the industry sources said.

The expansion will take place in fiscal 2015 at the earliest.

Revising the system will be costly, though. Some small lenders have raised doubt about the benefit versus the burden, the sources said.

Round-the-clock money transfers are available in some countries, including Britain, Sweden and Singapore.

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