Online banking is changing. Meet eBank in Japan.

Here's an excerpt from Chris Skinner's blog on SwiftCommunity. It speaks to a changing world of banking - one where it is not only more cost effective, but more efficient for the end consumer to conduct business digitally.

Here’s a brief profile of eBANK:

* launched in July 2001;
* 2.8 million accounts and ¥800 billion ($8 billion) in assets;
* the largest internet bank in Japan;
* no branches or ATMs (customers use the 25,000 Post Office and 15,000 7-11 ATMs); and
* 195 employees.

Yep, you read that last bit right.

An $8 billion in assets bank, with almost 3 million customer accounts, operated by just 195 staff.

195 people in total that is.

15,000 accounts per staff member.

How do they do it?

Well, it may best be illustrated by their account opening process.

The usual account onboarding process requires a visit to a branch, a bunch of documentation, a raft of form-filling, a lengthy process of verification checking and authentication reporting under FATF and AML rules, a little bit of KYC, a range of data entries requiring lots of box-ticking and button-pushing, the production of paper and plastic confirmations, final mail outs and more.

How does eBANK do it?

You go online and enter your information.

You take a digital photograph of your driving licence.

You mail the digital data up to eBANK.

Their OCR reads your driving licence data – name, address, birthdate – automatically and then checks this against your data and public records.

As long as all tallies, it emails you back with new account details or asks you to clarify discrepancies.

No human hand involved.

While that sounds extremely sexy for 10% of SA's population - I'd look to our cellphone banking for where the real leaps and bounds of innovation are going to come.

Always remember - the mantra of Andy: We may have 6 million Internet users and 38 million cellphone users. But in a year or two, when the line between PC and mobile blurs completely, we'll hop straight up to 38 million Internet users.

It's coming.


  1. Wow, thats a good point - I hadn't thought about how easily we will jump to large scale internet use.
    By making banking simpler on the internet, I wonder if it makes it any easier to defraud?

  2. Fraud is a tough one, and something unfortunately I'm not qualified enough to comment on. From what I do know - there's a delicate balancing act between:

    1. educating customers on techniques like phishing.

    2. shutting down the phishers themselves.

    3. and putting enough, but not too many security barriers in the way of online banking. The more barriers - the more calls to the call centre :)

  3. The answer is No, and Yes.

    No. Bank systems are extraordinarily difficult to break into (hack). It is very rare for a hacker to break through an online bank’s security. In addition to the levels of security that the client uses and sees, banks have many behind-the-scenes security levels built into their systems.

    Yes. Just about all attacks on banks are aimed at the client. With the huge increase of customers there is a proportionate increase in careless clients who fall for social engineering attacks, of which the most common is the Phishing e-mail. The Phishing e-mail is sent out randomly to hundreds of thousands of e-mail addresses hoping to temp a recipient to a fake bank site.


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