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Convenience store chain Lawson aims to launch bank in FY 2018

Major convenience store chain Lawson, Inc. announced on March 26 that it will apply to the Financial Services Agency for a preliminary inspection to obtain a banking license, and aims to launch banking services within fiscal 2018.

The name of new financial institution will be "Lawson Bank," and will be the first new consumer banking market entry since Daiwa Securities Group Inc. established Daiwa Next Bank in 2011.

Lawson decided on the application at a March 26 board of directors meeting. The new bank will supersede a current convenience store ATM service business run by a Lawson subsidiary. The company aims to gain new customers by boosting convenience through the wholly Lawson-owned and operated banking services, set to be available across its national network of some 14,000 outlets. The firm plans to raise 130 billion yen in working capital from the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and other investors.

Lawson gains a smaller income from banking service fees than industry leader Seven and i Holdings Co., which operates its own bank. In response, in 2016 Lawson founded a preparatory firm for the establishment of a bank, and has since moved forward with the project. It will be the third retailer to establish a bank following IY Bank (now Seven and i's Seven Bank) in 2001 and Aeon Bank in 2007.

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