• Kyodo

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Convenience store chain operator Lawson Inc. plans to enter the banking business in 2018, industry sources said Wednesday. It will prepare for its entry into a new sector by setting up a company next month with the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

The investment ratio for the new bank is likely to be 95 percent for Lawson and 5 percent for BTMU, the sources said. If a license is granted by the Financial Services Agency, Lawson would be the third Japanese retailer to start a banking business after Seven & I Holdings Co. and Aeon Co.

Lawson hopes the bank will lead to greater footfall at its convenience stores, the sources said.

At present, Lawson has ATMs in most of its 12,000 stores across Japan, but they can only do withdrawals and transfers.

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