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The Financial System Council, an advisory body to the prime minister, has begun discussions on expanding the types of business that can be done by financial holding companies and firms under their umbrella. Banks hope to improve their earning power through the introduction of new services such as Internet-based payments and greater efficiency in financial management by companies in the same group. The council plans to wrap up its discussions by the end of this year for the government to submit relevant bills in 2016. The council should not forget the viewpoint of increasing benefits for consumers, including convenience.

Behind the planned deregulation is the entry into the banking business of information technology companies and retail firms, such as Rakuten and Seven & i Holdings Co. New Internet-based payment services such as Paypal, which originated in the United States, are also expanding.

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