Japanese Financial Firms Plan Joint Portal Site

With an eye to taking full advantage of Net-enabled business opportunities, four leading Japanese firms plan to establish a common portal site to offer “one-stop-shopping” for financial products and services.

The financial portal site, which will go online during the first half of
fiscal year 2000, is a joint project of Sakura Bank,
Nomura Securities,
Nippon Life Insurance Co.,
and Mitsui Marine &

Fire Insurance Co.

The site will thus be able to offer Japanese Web users one-stop access
to a broad selection of online banking, brokerage, and life and non-life
insurance products and services.

One feature is to be a customizable “My Financial Homepage” through
which each customer can access a comprehensive listing of his/her
dealings with the four firms.

While the financial portal site will be a cooperative venture showcasing
a range of offerings, each partner will independently decide which of
its services it will make available online.

The aim of the joint project, the partners announced, is to “realize
maximum synergy effects” by providing customers with easy access to
high-value-added financial services and products that extend beyond the
traditional business field of each individual company.

“This portal site will enable us to cross market and advertise to a
broader customer base,” they said, thus becoming “an effective tool for
each company to acquire new customers.”

The partners have invited other financial institutions, including a
credit card company and an investment trust firm, to participate.
Sumitomo Bank, which late last year announced a strategic alliance with
Sakura Bank, and an unnamed “leading foreign-affiliated banking group”
have already expressed interest.

In an effort to further strengthen the appeal of their financial portal
site and “try to make customers visit repeatedly and maximize the time
they stay,” the partners said they are considering asking selected
non-financial firms, such as information services and online retailers,
to join.

The as-yet-unnamed site will be managed for the participants by IBM
Japan.

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