Dutch financial group ING Groep will miss its goal of entering Japan's retail banking market this year with its ING Direct banking service, but remains on track for a launch with final regulatory approval, the company said on Monday.
ING Direct Japan team is working closely with the FSA to provide them with any information necessary to obtain the final licence, a spokeswoman for ING said. ING Group continues to give its full commitment to ING Direct's Japan launch.
ING received a preliminary banking licence from Japan's Financial Supervisory Agency in September, ING said, and continues to work with the regulator to get its final licence, needed to offer banking services to the public in Japan. Once approval is granted, ING plans for a quick launch in Japan where it is hoping to capture a share of some 4.9 trillion euros ($7.18 trillion) in savings deposits.
ING Direct, the world's largest online bank with more than 20 million customers, operates without any physical branches, with clients opening and managing their accounts over the phone and via the Internet.
ING declined to give a timeframe for the Japan launch. The financial group has had a team preparing a launch well before it announced in May that it planned to introduce ING Direct there.
Many analysts considered Japan as an inevitable next step for ING Direct, with its high savings rate, a developed inter-bank payments system and a recovering economy with depositors hungry for returns after a decade of near zero interest rates. (Reporting by Reed Stevenson; Editing by Quentin Bryar)