Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lessons for the UK banks from Japan

Maybe Japan offers some clues how the UK banks could go around repairing their ‘tarnished’ image with the over-50s. Today’s FT has a good article in its ageing in Japan series (sorry it is subscription only).

The most wealth older customers of Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ were recently invited to an exclusive outing in a traditional Japanese garden where they were able to enjoy a cherished summer ritual – firefly-viewing.

The club, which is targeted at senior depositors with Y10m or more in the bank, is part of the bank’s efforts to attract more business from Japan’s older citizens, who own the bulk of the country’s financial assets.

BTMU is not alone in targeting the seniors. Sumitomo Mitsui Bank manages its own club for people aged 50 and older, called SMBC Club 50s. In this case the club’s members are treated to free seminars.

The UK banks would need to do a lot of customisation for the local market but the intention would be the same – to send a signal that they value their older and wealthy customers. What a novel idea that would be for the banks who have spent the past year decimating their clients’ savings by slashing the interest rates. Dick Stroud

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