A five-point catch-up on Japan’s big banks as some of them struggle to keep up with the times:
- Mizuho Bank says that Sunday’s system glitch, which led to the suspension of a huge number of its ATMs in Japan, was partly caused by work related to a data shift to digital passbooks. The move is part of an effort to cut costs and, ironically, improve user convenience. The digitalization shift may have put an excessive burden on the bank’s computer system, sources say.
- Japan Post Bank said in January it was scrapping its cashless payment card service due to major security flaws and will launch a new service next year. The bank noticed the first fraudulent money transfer in 2017 but didn’t start taking proper security steps until autumn 2019. As of January, the bank had compensated customers for losses totaling ¥52.77 million in 230 cases.
- Japan’s big banks have a ¥4.6 trillion problem: how to sell stakes in their most important clients without losing their business, Jiji reports. The practice of cross-shareholdings is largely unique to Japan, where it emerged after the war to cement ties with friendly firms and keep aggressive shareholders at bay. And while most stakes have since been offloaded, stubborn holdouts remain.
- Sixteen Japanese banks say they refrain from investing in and extending loans to companies involved in the manufacturing of nuclear weapons and delivery systems, according to a survey last year by Kyodo. Japan’s three megabanks are among the 16, but although investing and loans are ruled out, not all financial dealings with such firms are specifically prohibited, Kyodo reports.
- The Financial Services Agency plans to allow banks to target ad sales using their customer data as part of moves to ease curbs on the banking industry, Jiji has reported. The FSA will allow banks to use info on their users’ account activities and credit card histories so they can sell firms space on their websites for ads targeting specific demographics and purchasing habits, sources say.