Sony says it has begun studying the possibility of creating an Internet banking service.
The company confirmed reports that it was planning to start such a service but it offered no comment on when such a service might start. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun said in its Friday morning edition that Sony was eyeing a 2001 start date for the new venture.
"Sony Corporation has begun to investigate the possibility of establishing a Personal Net-Banking Service," the company said in a statement. "On Dec. 1, Sony established a Financial Service Business Development Department to discuss the details of the new business such as how it will be established, the type of services it will offer and the business plan."
"Discussions will take place over the coming months in order to provide the best service in the field of finance for individual customers in the Net era."
One of the issues to be resolved by Sony in the course of its planning is whether it will enter the banking industry through establishment of a new bank or by taking over a failed bank.
Last month Ito-Yokado., a major supermarket operator and owner of the Seven Eleven convenience store chain, announced plans to move into the banking sector and apply for a license. Previously it had announced plans to work with fast growing Internet company Softbank to take over the failed Nippon Credit Bank and enter the retail banking sector.
Sony recently established an online stock trading company and also owns Sony Financial International which issues credit cards and insurance. The move to establish an online bank would give Sony a stronger presence in the financial sector and particularly the consumer finance sector. This is the same area of the economy that they company aims all of its electronics products with little work done for industry and businesses.
Sony, in Tokyo, can be reached at http://www.sony.co.jp .