Business / Corporate

Convenience store giant Lawson eyes entering banking business

Kyodo

Convenience store operator Lawson Inc. is considering entering the banking sector by setting up a new lender with the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, industry sources said Friday.

Lawson and BTMU are yet to decide on their investment ratio and business model. Through the establishment of a new bank, the convenience store chain is aiming to increase its customers while also expanding its revenue base via ATM fees.

Lawson presently has ATMs in its 12,000 stores nationwide, though their services, in cooperation with major and regional banks, are limited to withdrawals and money transfers.

With the new bank, the company plans to launch new services such as overseas remittance and the opening of new accounts.

If a license is granted by the Financial Services Agency, Lawson would be the third Japanese retailer to enter the banking business, after Seven & i Holdings Co. and Aeon Co.

Daily earnings at a Lawson store are about ¥100,000 ($810) lower than industry leader Seven-Eleven Japan Co. In a bid to challenge its rival, Lawson will next month introduce Aeon’s Waon electronic money.

In terms of annual transaction value, Waon accounts for nearly half of the nation’s e-money market.