Sony Bank

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Sony Bank, Inc.
Native name
ソニーバンク, ソニー銀行
FoundedJune 11, 2001 (2001-06-11)
HeadquartersNishikichō, Tokyo, Japan
Key people
Yuichiro Sumimoto (CEO)
ProductsForeign currency deposits, investment trust, home loans
¥6.6 billion (2019)
Total assets¥3,079.4 billion (2019)
Number of employees
455 (2015)
ParentSony Financial Holdings

Sony Bank (Japanese: ソニーバンク, ソニー銀行) is a Japanese commercial bank established in April 2001. It operates as a direct bank and has no physical branches or ATMs. It is one of the largest online banks in Japan and a subsidiary of Sony Financial Holdings, the financial business unit of the multinational conglomerate Sony. Its main business is offering online banking with foreign currency deposits, investment trusts, and home loans.


A reduction in regulations in Japan at the end of the 1990s encouraged a number of companies to enter the banking sector for the first time.[1]

Sony faced challenges as it began Sony Bank. In 2001, when Sony Bank was founded, Web use was limited in Japan as compared with the United States.[2] Only 24 million people used the Internet every month at that time.[2] Still, the company remained hopeful that infrastructure would improve.[2] Sony claimed its move into banking went hand-in-hand with its shift from a manufacturing focus to a focus on content such as films and music.[3]

Sony announced its new banking unit in March 2000.[4] The bank started doing business on June 11, 2001.[2] The company began with ¥37.5 billion[4] of capital. It had around 80 employees at the time.[3] It added 340 online accounts during its first hour of operation.[2] At the time, the company offered yen-deposit accounts, investment trusts, card loans, and bank payments.[2] It hoped to expand into foreign currency deposit accounts, credit cards, and housing loans by 2002.[2] It also hoped to allow its customers to use automated teller machines from the Japan Post.

In 2001, Sony Bank hoped to accumulate 400,000 customers by 2004.[2][3] In February 2001, the company had hoped to accumulate $5.2 billion in deposits;[3] it adjusted that figure downward to $4.1 billion in deposits three months later.[2] In February 2001, the company aimed to gain $8.6 billion in deposits by 2006.[3] Analysts at the time were generally upbeat about the prospects for the bank. Raymond H. Graber of TowerGroup suggested the bank could synergize with the other operations of Sony Financial.[2] Still, Paul Jamieson of Gomez Advisors warned that customers would have high expectations for Sony Bank, given Sony's existing reputation for the ease of use and elegant design of its products.[2]

Shigeru Ishii was appointed and served as the first president of Sony Bank.[5]

As of 2005 the company faced weak earnings.[6]

By 2007, Sony Bank had accumulated 500,000 customers.[7] That year, Sony planned to add an electronic trading platform.[7]

In 2011, Sony had considered expanding its banking business into the Australian market,[8] only to abandon the idea in 2013.[9]

In 2019, Sony Bank started an English-language online banking service to meet the need of increasing foreign residents in Japan.[10]


Upon the bank's founding in 2001, Sony owned 80% of the bank.[2] By 2005, its stake had risen to 84.2% and Sony Financial Holdings became the intermediate holding company of the bank.[6]

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group owned a 16% initial stake in the company and allowed Sony Bank customers to access its 7,600 automated teller machines.[2] Sony Group is considered to be a Mitsui keiretsu. Sumitomo Mitsui had reduced its share to 12.6% by 2005.[6]

Upon the bank's founding in 2001, JPMorgan Chase owned a 4% stake in the bank.[2] JPMorgan had hoped to expand its asset and wealth management services in Japan.[2] The company reduced its ownership to 3.2% by 2005.[6] It sold off its entire stake in 2005, claiming to have discussed the move with Sony in advance.[6] By the divestiture made by JP Morgan, Sony increased its ownership to 87.4%.[6]

In 2008, Sony Bank became a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Financial Holdings after Sumitomo Mitsui sold its remaining stake to Sony.[11]


  1. ^ "Sony Plans Online Bank". New York Times. Feb 1, 2001. p. W.1.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Bach, Deborah. "Sony Counting on its Brand as a Magnet for its Web Bank." American Banker: 12. ProQuest Research Library. Jun 12 2001. Web. 27 May 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e Bach, Deborah. "Sony Seeks Japanese License for Web Bank; Morgan has Role." American Banker: 1. ProQuest Research Library. Feb 01 2001. Web. 27 May 2012.
  4. ^ a b Stephanie Strom (NYT), Dan Fineren (NYT), Elizabeth Olson (NYT) (Mar 31, 2000). "World Business Briefing". New York Times. p. C4 – via ProQuest.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ "ENTERPRISE: COMPANIES: Online and in the Money." Asiaweek Aug 10 2001: 1-. ProQuest Research Library. Web. 27 May 2012.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "J.P. Morgan Chase & Co." Wall Street Journal: 1. ABI/INFORM Global. Sep 15 2005. Web. 27 May 2012.
  7. ^ a b Pilling, David. "Camera Sales Raise Sonys Game." Financial Times: 23. ABI/INFORM Global. Jul 27 2007. Web. 27 May 2012.
  8. ^ Sony eyes online Australian banking July 28, 2011, The Age. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  9. ^ "Japanese giant Sony axes plan to set up online home loan business in Australia". Herald Sun. January 20, 2014.
  10. ^ Incorporated, Sony Bank. "Sony Bank Launches New Service "English online banking"". Retrieved 2020-05-25.
  11. ^ "Sony Bank to become wholly owned subsidiary" (PDF). Sony Financial Holdings.

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