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Mizuho Is Latest Bank To Sell Customer Data

Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group is the latest major bank to attempt to cash in through the sale of data on customer spending and other financial habits.

Mizuho is launching “a data service for corporate clients,” Koji Fujiwara, chief executive officer of Mizuho’s main banking unit, told Bloomberg News, noting that this is a first for a Japanese bank.

The data would be aggregated with no personal details attached as a means of protecting customer privacy, the bank executive said.

“We have a vast amount of data, such as accounts, transactions and lending information,” Fujiwara told the news service.

Mizuho joins a growing number of financial giants – including Bank of America Corp. and Lloyds Banking Group – that are looking to steal a page from tech giants like Google and Facebook by monetizing their stockpiles of customer data.

For banks, the gains could be palpable, with the potential to generate as much as 1 percent to 2 percent in additional revenue, Bloomberg reports, citing a study by Accenture.

Mizuho’s bid to monetize customers’ financial data is being aided by a push by the Japanese government to revive the country’s faltering banking sector through deregulation, expanding the array of business activities open to the nation’s financial institutions.

Fujiwara told the news service that he sees potential demand for the bank’s data from retailers and restaurants, as it could enable them to sort through siting decisions based on the income levels and spending habits of local residents.

Still, as the trend spreads, how customers will feel about the sharing of their data is another question.

Efforts by tech giants to monetize their vast storehouses of customer data have proven controversial, with studies showing that consumers may want a cut of the revenue from the sale of their data.

For example, German users of Facebook want to be paid as much as $8 a month, as opposed to their counterparts in the United States, who would charge $3.50, according to a Technology Policy Institute study.

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