Japanese bank beefs up English language services for expats

Published:  18 May at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
Tagged: USA, UK, Money, Euro, England
Major Japanese banks are responding to an increase in incoming expat professionals by providing more English language services.

One of the biggest problems for expats taking up positions in non-English speaking countries is dealing with the need for a local bank account. Not only is it rare to find English-speaking staff, the banking systems and services are mostly very different than those in the home country. Even in European countries, setting up a new bank account can be tricky, but for newly arrived expatriates in Asia it’s a nightmare.

Once totally closed to Westerners, modern Japan is attracting increasing numbers of professionals from Europe and America, all of whom need to access banking facilities even though they aren’t yet fluent in Japanese. The banks’ decision to up the number of bilingual employees is based on the common sense reason that more non-Japanese speaking clients could make up for the country’s shrinking population at some time in the future.

At the present time, Japanese banks aren’t fulfilling their money-making potential due to dwindling profits linked with last year’s Bank of Japan’s negative interest rate policy, ensuring that a new style of customer is a welcome development. According to a senior manager at the Tokyo-based Shinsei Bank, more foreigners than ever before are visiting the bank and contacting their customer service helplines, thus pointing out the need for English language speaking staff.

During the first half of 2016, 23 per cent of customers who visited Shinsei Bank branches were non-Japanese, and the country is expecting another increase in the number of expatriates in the workforce. It’s clear that banking services for non-Japanese speakers needs to be vastly improved, with Shinsei Bank taking the first steps. A particularly useful innovation is its live video chat translation service via tablet computers, found at the Tokyo Central branch as well as at branches in Ikebukuro and Shinjuku branches, both of which districts are popular with expatriates.

In addition, the bank offers one or two English-speaking staff members at each of its 32 branches who are able to help with basic banking needs, and its English language website and online banking service has been upgraded using typical English words and phrases. Since the upgrade, page views of the site have doubled over the last several months. Shinsei has also conducted a survey in order to establish the banking needs of its non-Japanese speaking customers.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive