It’s easy to assume that as a postal service, the banking portion of the business will be an afterthought. In fact, the fact that it features as a prominent bank on its own is already something spectacular. Japan Post Bank is far more than a means of delivering mail, however, is it has an impressive asset holding. However, if you’re looking for the traditional set-up with loans and ordinary banking, you might me a little disappointed as information on those types of products are hard to come by.
With such a big asset holding in the banking portion of the business, it ranks the bank as one of the biggest in the world. That title is not to be ignored and does set banking in Japan on the world radar. But, how does Japan Post Bank rate against its competitors? In this review, we compare the service, products, and general safety of banking with this institution. Do other services and features make up for the lack of products?
See how the bank compares to other global banks, such as HSBC.
History of Japan Post Bank
As the name suggests, the Japan Post Bank doesn’t have the traditional roots in banking, but rather in postal services. Modern postal services were introduced in Japan in 1871 but it wasn’t until 1875 that it started taking deposits. For more than a century, the bank worked within the framework set by the postal service.
Japan Post Bank continued to take in deposits and arrange the various services associated with these deposits. Furthermore, these services were very limited as the bank was only privatized in 2006. It was also not connected to the Japanese Bankers Association payment processing network. This limited the ability to transfer funds between Japan Post Bank and other banks. This changed in 2009 when the bank joined the network. In 2011, it also became a full JBA member.
Currently, the bank enjoys massive asset holdings and a large market share as far as savings and investments are concerned.
Access to Japan Post Bank
There is no indication on the website that the bank provides internet banking. Furthermore, many of the transactions are limited to ATMs. Also, the services provided by the ATMs are limited and customers are unable to do balance inquiries.
The majority of the transactions take place within normal banking hours. Apart from the banking branches dotted across the country, customers are also able to perform transactions at post offices. This means that there are over 230 branches and 20,000 additional locations available to customers. Finally, this provides customers with access to savings and other banking products even in the rural locations.
Product Offerings of Japan Post Bank
This solution provides customers with the means to deposit ordinary, everyday deposits. Furthermore, these deposits can include funds required for deductions or utilities. Some of the deposits that can be accommodated include salaries, annuities, and more.
The ideal solution for those who don’t require immediate access to their funds. Furthermore, customers can choose to leave the deposit there for a period of 6 months up to 10 years. Also, the interest is compounded semi-annually. Finally, the initial interest discussed is applicable up until the withdrawal date.
This option allows customers to put their funds away for a period of time. Furthermore, customers have the option to do this for a short- or medium-term. Also, the investment allows customers to opt for the automatic reinvestment option. This is a handy feature for those who have very little time to go into the bank.
A bank that offers a good range of savings, is Bank of Ireland.
With this option, customers can send their money anywhere in Japan. Furthermore, customers can choose between ordinary and small amounts.
Customers will have access to an easy and reliable means of sending money by using a transfer account. Also, Inpayments and Outpayments can be handled normally or by electronic transfer for urgent transfers.
Payment to Address
With this service, customers pay the remittance amount and charges by cash and a money order or other document is delivered to the payee’s address. Furthermore, the payee can then cash the money order or other document at their local Post Office. This provides access to those in rural areas and is a convenient and safe way of sending money. Finally, for remittances to the United States, the remitter must send the money order to the payee.
Payment to Account
Customers pay the amount of the remittance and the charge in cash. The remittance amount is then transferred to an overseas payee’s bank or postal giro account.
With this service, the remittance amount and the charge are deducted from the remitter’s integrated account or giro account. The remittance amount is then transferred to an overseas payee’s bank account or postal giro account.
Although the loans are not processed by Japan Post Bank, the bank provides a loan intermediary service. Furthermore, this means that they serve as an agent for mortgage loans, specific-purpose loans, and more. Finally, customers can apply for these loans at selected Japan Post branches, by telephone, or via the internet.
Find out what National Bank of Abu Dhabi has to offer where loans are concerned.
Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs) and Bond-Secured Loans
Customers will have the sales of their JGBs done under the new OTC sales system. Furthermore, they will have access to 2, 5, and 10-year maturities. There are also nonmarketable JGBs for individual investors at a 5-year fixed rate or a 10-year variable rate to purchase. Finally, these bonds can secure loans.
Japan Post Bank branches and the Post Offices serve as agents for the sale and repurchase of investment trusts. Furthermore, they also act as agents for the payments of income distributions and amounts due for fund maturities and redemptions.
Customers have access to intermediary services for variable annuity policies. Also, the bank acts as the sales agent for life insurance companies.
Credit and Debit Cards
Credit Cards – JP Bank Card
The JP Bank Card has a dual purpose as it is both a credit and debit card. Furthermore, customers have the option to apply for a card that doesn’t double up as an ATM card.
- The bank also offers family cards, ETC cards, iD/cell phone cards, and PiTaPa cards.
- Furthermore, the application process is simple as customers merely need to apply for cards by completing and submitting a JP Bank Card application. Finally, these are available at directly operated branches and Post Offices.
A bank that has an impressive credit card range, is Wells Fargo.
With this card, customers can purchase from a wide network of merchants and the funds are debited from their accounts immediately. Furthermore, the card promotes access to Japan Electronic Payment Promotion Organization merchants.
These facilities allow cardholders of ATM and other eligible cards to access their funds.
Foreign Currency Exchange
Japan Post Bank can accommodate up to eight currencies, including US Dollar, Chinese Yuan, Canadian Dollar, Pound Sterling, South Korean Won, Australian Dollar, Swiss Franc, and Euro. Furthermore, the Chinese Yuan is exchangeable only at certain locations.
Japan Post Bank can issue checks in six currencies, including US Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Pound Sterling, Australian Dollar, Euro, and Japanese Yen.
Review of Japan Post Bank – 5 of 10
Customer Satisfaction Reviews
I haven’t been able to locate any service or customer satisfaction ratings. Furthermore, ratings from employees are also not readily available on internet searches.
Financial Stability Ratings
Early 2016 saw the bank in a negative interest situation, which meant that investors were hard-hit. Fears of negative reviews from the ratings agencies was a tough feat for the bank to face. The bank managed to counter the negative interest by introducing service fees to ensure recurring income. The bank's ratings with Moody’s are fair, with the Long Term ratings at A1 and the Short Term at P-1. S&P rated the bank’s Long Term at A+ and the Short Term at A-1.
Security of Funds
Information on deposit insurance is not readily available and the only mention of this is the increase in the savings deposit limits. We will have to assume, therefore, that there is no insurance on deposits.
Review by Critical Reviews
The biggest factor that affects this rating is the lack of information on the various service provided by the bank. There are many different screens to click through in order to get the right information. Also, some information still remains unknown on the various products which force customers to perform their transactions in the various branches or post offices.
Furthermore, we find the biggest source of information on the bank on other sites. These include Reuters and Bloomberg, not the bank's site itself. This includes the history and founding information. We are also unable to determine how satisfied customers and employees are with the bank.
Finally, we have to take the lack of products into consideration as well. Customers need to approach other institutions to meet all their financial needs. The unknown factor of whether deposits are insured or not is also something to take into consideration.