Japan’s SMBC Expands US Operations With Jenius Bank

digital banking

Japan’s SMBC Group says it hopes to strengthen its presence in the U.S. with Jenius Bank, a digital consumer banking business.

According to a Wednesday (Aug. 24) news release, Jenius will operate as a division of Manufacturers Bank, which is a California-based bank and SMBC subsidiary.

Jenius Bank will debut in the coming months with personal loans before expanding into savings and checking products in its first year, the release said.

“With the launch of Jenius Bank, we have the rare opportunity to build exceptional products from scratch that uniquely meet the needs of today’s digitally-native consumers who need and expect more,” said Kazuhisa Miyagawa, chairman and CEO of Manufacturers Bank.

Jenius Bank has pledged that it won’t charge the “punitive fees that most banks charge today,” and will minimize paper and manual processing. As most of its employees will be remote, the bank says it won’t have physical branches.

“Our target customers don’t want these things, and the resulting efficiency will allow us to provide more value back to them,” said John Rosenfeld, the bank’s president.

Read more: Nearly 50% of Consumers Highly Interested in Digital-Only Banking

PYMNTS research backs this up. We found that that 49% of consumers report they are either “very” or “extremely” interested in digital-only banking services from large organizations.

However, banks and other financial institutions aren’t the only entities consumers will now trust with banking services, making white-label Banking-as-a-Service solutions of heightened interest to other well-positioned players.

Our study also found high levels of trust for companies that include Amazon (48%) and Apple (45%) as nonbank organizations consumers would do their banking with. We noted that “organizations that have backgrounds outside of banking have a sizable opportunity to gain ground within the banking industry if they can build on their strengths to make financial services fun, easy to use and secure.”

The numbers are very similar to the share of consumers who said they would trust major financial institutions, with 49% naming Bank of America and 44% saying they would trust JPMorgan Chase & Co. to offer these services.