A Japanese megabank shifted away from finance by offering a service to help elderly customers prepare for death and ensure their last wishes and requests reach the right people. The service by Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. (SMBC) targets customers in their 60s to 80s.
It shows that SMBC aims to strengthen its non-financial businesses by capitalizing on the country’s graying population. Under the service, participants will entrust SMBC with their “shukatsu” (preparing for the end of life).
The bank will create digital versions of “ending notes,” or messages and requests elderly people write to their relatives and friends.
SMBC will store these messages and wishes that could concern medical and nursing care as well as funeral arrangements and other measures needed in the event of emergency.
Users can also register information on their assets, including bank savings and insurance policies, as well as IDs and passwords they use when shopping online and using social media.
When they die or develop dementia, the bank will convey those wishes, which can be recorded in videos or audio messages, and the registered information to people designated by the users beforehand.
SMBC said it will keep the entrusted information at the same high level of security as it does for customers’ savings. Only those who have bank accounts at SMBC can use the service.
The service is offered for free until February. After that, the bank will charge users 990 yen ($8.85), including tax, a month. SMBC aims to obtain several thousand contracts for the service in the first six months.