Japanese Regulators Approve eBank

Japan's Financial Service Agency, the country's top financial regulator, has granted eBank Corp. a license to offer online banking services. This is the third such venture in Japan.

In March, eBank applied to regulators for a banking license to start operations. The bank aims to serve as an exclusively Internet-based specialist for the settlement of small payments. The company expects to be profitable within three years, hoping to turn a profit of 3 billion to 5 billion yen, or about $24 million.

The bank's largest shareholder is its president, Taiichi Matsuo, who holds 17.09 percent of the stock. Japan Telecom Co. Ltd. owns 5.68 percent. More than 50 firms, including Itochu Corp., Sumitomo Corp., Hitachi Ltd., Nippon Shinpan Co. and Mitsui Marine & Fire Insurance, own up to 5 percent each.

Online banks in Japan are expected to threaten traditional banking institutions because they can offer lower-priced services.

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