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Sony launches online bank

But European users can’t yet cash in

Sony doesn't just want to be an important feature of your living room, it wants to get its hands on your cash, too. Today sees the launch of its latest push into consumer finance with the opening of Sony Bank.

European banks can rest easy - the new bank will only serve Japanese customers for now. But Sony’s move signals the further diversification of high-tech firms. Companies such as Sony - and perhaps some mobile telcos - have been thinking for some time how to make money from money. Becoming a bank is an 'easy in'. UK supermarkets are already realising this potential.

Sony Bank, in which Sony holds an 80 percent stake, operates solely online and was established with offline Japanese banking giant Sumitomo Mitsui Banking and JP Morgan Chase & Co. They hold stakes of 16 percent and four percent respectively.

In addition to yen-based accounts, the bank will offer investment trusts, loans, automatic payments and other financial services. Within its first year of operation the bank hopes to launch foreign currency-based deposit accounts, credit card services and housing loans.

The company is hoping to be able to use the internet to tie these services together and reach out to its customers in the same way it hopes home networking will tie together electronics products and the network will allow its content business a direct path to consumers.


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