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Japanese Online Bank Readies for June Debut

EBank Corp., Tokyo, has applied to financial regulators for a banking license to start operations in June.

The bank's aim is to serve as an exclusively Internet-based specialist bank for the settlement of small payments. The company expects to be profitable within three years.

More than 20 firms, including Itochu Corp., Sumitomo Corp., Hitachi Ltd., Nippom Shinpan Co. and Mitsu Marine & Fire Insurance, own up to 5 percent each of the online venture.

EBank said its initial investment in development and operations will be roughly 4 billion yen.

The start-up bank is one of several online ventures attempting to stake a claim in Japan's banking sector, which has been opening up because of recent deregulation.

Japan Net Bank became the country's first online lender when it opened in October. Sony Corp. soon followed suit when the company filed for a banking license in January to establish an Internet banking division.

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