The credit industry will continue to play an important role in the cashless society, with the “cashless point return business” expanding the base of cashless payments and recommending the use of cashless payments as a measure to prevent new coronavirus infections. I am. Under these circumstances, we interviewed President Yamashita of Credit Saison Co., Ltd., the vice chairman of the Japan Credit Association, about the future outlook for a cashless society and the company’s efforts.
Masahiro Yamashita Born March 5, 1958 April 1981 Joined Seibu Credit Co., Ltd. (currently Credit Saison Co., Ltd.) June 2010 Director of the company March 2012 Managing Director of the company March 2016 Senior Managing Director of the company March 2019 COO, President and CEO of the company
March 2020 Representative Director and President and COO of the company (current position) June 2020 Vice Chairman of Japan Credit Association (current position)
Keiko Kurami Born in Kanagawa prefecture. Graduated from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Tsuda College. After getting a job at a foreign-affiliated company, he joined Nagano Broadcasting Systems in 2003. In charge of the main caster and reporter of various programs on Nagano Broadcasting Systems. After that, he was in charge of NHK General Reporter and NHK BS caster. Also active in hosting events. He also wrote a column for the Nagano Civic Newspaper. Widely active.
Current state of the credit market and its impact on the industry
Expansion of the handling area where credit cards can be used is the key to future growth
Kurami:Due to the influence of the new coronavirus, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have been postponed for one year. In addition to the expected economic effects of foreign visitors to Japan, personal consumption fell not only in Japan but around the world, and the economy as a whole was hit hard. Please tell us about the impact on the credit industry under these circumstances.
Yamashita:The economic contraction caused by the corona crisis has hit directly, Japan’s consumer spending has fallen sharply, and the credit industry has been greatly affected. Sales at department stores that frequently use credit cards were ▲ 72.8% in April, ▲ 65.6% in May, ▲ 19.1% in June, and sales at shopping centers were ▲ 68.8% in April, ▲ 61.4% in May, and ▲ 15.0% in June. The transaction volume of the travel industry was ▲ 95.5% in April, ▲ 97.6% in May, and ▲ 92.9% in June, showing a significant decrease from the previous year.
Credit card transaction volume showed signs of picking up at ▲ 16.3% in April, ▲ 17.0% in May, and ▲ 3.3% in June, but the impact is still due to the re-expansion of the new coronavirus infection from July. I expect it to continue.
On the other hand, the amount of spending using the Internet, which has a high affinity with credit cards, has expanded to + 6% in April, + 16% in May, and + 20% in June even during the Corona crisis, and the credit industry has expanded its transaction volume. I think it is important to expand the coverage area where credit cards can be used in order to minimize the impact and grow steadily.
Kurami:It is probable that the government-led “cashless point return project” that ended in June of this year had a certain effect in terms of the spread of cashless payments. Please tell us about the impact of this policy on the industry and future trends in the cashless market.
Yamashita:Of course, the impact of this “cashless point return business” is that credit card transaction volume has increased, but the biggest impact was that the word “cashless” permeated all over Japan. Doesn’t it mean that resistance to cashless payments has diminished? Small and medium-sized merchants who have not been very active in cashless payments have actively appealed for a 5% reduction in cashless payments, and in addition to the situation of corona sickness, consumers also take this opportunity to make cashless payments. You may have experienced it and embodied its convenience.
In addition, about 1.15 million small and medium-sized businesses participated this time, and the installation of terminals is proceeding at the expense of the credit card company and the government at small and medium-sized member stores where payment terminals were not installed, for cashless payment. The progress of infrastructure development also had a great effect.
As for us in the credit industry, the transaction volume is currently sluggish due to the corona, but we will further permeate the convenience of cashless payments embodied by consumers in this “cashless point return business” and make it a future investment strategy. I think it is important for each company to implement measures with the aim of achieving a cashless payment ratio of 40% by June 2025.
Efforts as Credit Saison
Aiming to be a true finance company that continues to propose various money services
Kurami:Please tell us about Credit Saison’s history.
Yamashita:Our company was founded as a monthly department store Midoriya in 1951, and after forming a capital and business tie-up with Seibu Department Stores in 1976, changed the company name to Seibu Credit Co., Ltd. in 1980, and changed its business format to a comprehensive financial business. Will lead to. (Company name changed to Credit Saison Co., Ltd. in 1989).
Since 1982, we have established a card development model for issuing Saison cards with no annual membership fee, immediate credit and immediate issuance, and have begun nationwide expansion of Saison counters. Since then, we have been working on various alliances that transcend the framework of affiliates and business formats, issuing affiliated cards with about 250 companies, and building an environment where cards can be used immediately at Saison counters nationwide. In addition, with the management philosophy of “advanced service company,” signless payment was made in 1990, and the alliance with American Express was started in 1997 (the first license agreement in Japan was signed with American Express), and it was permanently immortal in 2002. Creating epoch-making products and services that anticipate changes in the times through innovation, such as building a point platform and starting to provide a “point management service” that allows you to experience investment with permanent immortal points ahead of other companies in 2016. I’ve come.
Furthermore, we are developing a variety of businesses such as leasing & rental, credit guarantee, and provision of finance products such as mortgages, taking advantage of our independent strengths. Currently, we have set “Neo Finance Company in Asia” as our medium-term management vision, and we are expanding our expansion into the Asian region and promoting global business development.
Kurami:I was appointed president in March 2019. Please tell us about the “advanced service company” that we have set as our management philosophy.
Yamashita:As a leading service company, we have overcome the competition by instilling the three points of “practice of customer satisfaction”, “respect for mutual interests with business partners”, and “creating a corporate culture of creative innovation” as common values, and our customers, We will continue to take on challenges to meet the expectations of our shareholders and all our business partners, and contribute to the development of a more prosperous and convenient society, thereby achieving sustainable improvement in corporate value and contribution to society. I would like to.
Kurami:Please tell us about your mission statement.
Yamashita:We have formulated a three-year medium-term management plan from fiscal 2019 with the mission statement “To be a finance company that has been with our customers for 50 years-” Peace of mind “and” I see “about money.” Aiming to be a true finance company that can continue to propose various money services by being close to each customer according to changes in the customer’s life stage, using a credit card with a long service life as a touch point in the “100 years of life”. I am.
Kurami:Please tell us about your future credit card growth strategy and structural reforms.
Yamashita:For some time, we have been engaged in the payment business with the strength of the “same day issuance service” of cards that can provide benefits and added value immediately after applying as part of the affiliated card service at each commercial facility. We believe that it is important to provide this “same-day issuance service” in a form that meets current customer needs and usability.
As a concrete initiative, in November 2019, in order to meet the customer’s request to use the card immediately after applying for a credit card without waiting for the receipt of the plastic card, we will go to the partner store linked with the partner app in November 2019. We have started “Saison Cardless Payment” that can be used, and it is provided by PARCO and Yamada Denki.
In addition, by further developing this and issuing a virtual credit card on the smartphone (displaying card information such as numbers on the application), you can immediately make payments on smartphones at physical stores, online shops, etc. We will provide a new payment service that can be used from this fall.
With the new payment service, even if you issue a physical credit card after issuing a virtual credit card, in order to eliminate security concerns that the number will be displayed on the face of the card, the credit card number, expiration date, etc. will be displayed on the face of the card. It does not display any security code and provides the highest security.
On the other hand, we are also focusing on expanding the processing business. The new joint core system, which was migrated in November 2017, is operating smoothly, and with this new core system as a weapon, we propose the use of the new core system to a wide variety of alliance partners, including outsourcing of paperwork. We will further expand the processing business.
Kurami:In the previous talk, you mentioned that you are promoting global business development centered on Asia as your medium-term management vision. Please tell us in detail.
Yamashita:We have been fully expanding our global business since 2013, and we are developing a retail financial business in line with each country in the rapidly growing Asian region through business alliances with local companies, and we are currently expanding into nine countries. We aim to realize financial inclusion by providing financial services centered on smartphones to the rising middle class and those who cannot receive financial services from banks (Unbanked class). Going forward, we will continue to take on the challenge of becoming a “unique finance company in Asia” by accelerating the foundation of medium- to long-term overseas strategies and business development.
Kurami:I heard that ESG management is practiced based on SDGs. How are you specifically working on it?
Yamashita:Based on our management philosophy of “advanced service company,” we will utilize our unique know-how, management resources, and the experience of each and every employee to contribute to the development of society and the resolution of issues that can only be achieved by Credit Saison through our daily business. The basic idea is to create a more convenient and prosperous sustainable society.
As an environmental conservation initiative, we will utilize the Internet to reduce paper consumption by making card usage statements and card applications online, and also utilize digital counters face-to-face, 95% of the time when card applications are accepted on tablets. We are promoting paperless operations, such as accepting at terminals.
As an initiative to contribute to society, we have been operating Akagi Nature Park since 2010 in order to “pass on the rich nature to the children who will lead the next generation.” Akagi Nature Park is located at an altitude of 600 to 700 m at the western foot of Mt. Akagi. It is a forest where you can feel nature.
Utilizing the field of Akagi Nature Park, we are engaged in various activities such as environmental conservation activities in collaboration with the local community, efforts to support the next generation, and contribution to the local community through tourism activities.
Furthermore, utilizing the wide range of financial knowledge and experience we have cultivated so far, we are conducting on-site lessons for junior high school and high school students nationwide as part of our financial education activities for children who will lead the next generation. This “on-site lesson-SAISON TEACHER-” meets the needs of financial education at home and in the field of education, and fosters children as “independent consumers” by acquiring “correct knowledge about finance” and “sense of money”. We have been working on this since 2020.
Listen to the voices of employees and promote “flexible work styles” and “speedy commercialization”
Kurami:How is Credit Saison working on work style reforms?
Yamashita:Since the 1980s, before the concepts of “promotion of women’s advancement” and “diversity” became widespread, we have been actively hiring women to promote women’s social advancement. In order to realize the active participation of women in various occupations and positions, we have a history of expanding the system while listening to the voices of employees so that they will not give up on continuing employment or career development due to life events such as marriage and childbirth. As a result, the ratio of female employees is about 76%, and the ratio of female managers (managers and above) is also 50%.
Through many years, by expanding the system and accumulating achievements, we have fostered a culture of understanding and supporting each other, not only for women, but also for understanding the situation of colleagues who aim to balance work while having various restrictions. rice field.
In September 2017, with the aim of “creating an environment and culture that draws out the potential of each and every employee,” the employee categories that were previously classified into multiple categories such as professionals and mate employees (fixed-term employment contracts) were abolished and equal pay for equal work. It was made. After making all employees indefinitely employed, we have realized treatment according to the “role to play” and unified all systems such as defined contribution pension plans and welfare programs into a personnel system common to all employees.
In addition, we have introduced telework and flextime systems that improve productivity through work styles that do not lose time due to commuting or traveling, shorter working hours not limited to childcare and nursing care, and hourly paid leave that can be taken on an hourly basis. However, employees are now able to choose from a variety of work styles that suit their individual circumstances. From 2019, as a mechanism to support individual career development, a human resources development meeting that systematically considers the development plan of each employee, and 1on1 to create an environment where superiors and subordinates can communicate with each other and take on challenges with peace of mind. We are aiming for further growth of employees and the organization by introducing meetings and career development support that employees think independently.
At the same time, since 2019, we have been implementing an in-house venture program “SWITCH SAISON” to commercialize employee ideas more quickly. “SWITCH SAISON” aims to foster a culture in which employees can generate ideas, and to create new services that respond to social needs and changes in the market. All employees are eligible to apply, and there is also an environment where employees can take on challenges, such as support through a mentor system in which in-house experts accompany the inventor to lead to commercialization, and flexible personnel changes of the inventor in commercialization. It is being maintained.
Kurami:Mr. Yamashita is the president of Credit Saison and also the vice chairman of the Japan Credit Association. What are your thoughts on the role that the association will play in the future?
Yamashita:First of all, with the “Cashless Point Return Business” that ended in June of this year, about 1.15 million stores, including small and medium-sized businesses, participated, and the card payment infrastructure has been set up. I also feel that the need to use cashless payments to avoid the three densities (sealed, dense, and close) due to the effects of the new coronavirus infection is increasing.
To meet this need, with the cooperation of the members of the association, we will create an environment where customers can use various payment methods safely and securely throughout the credit industry, prevent fraudulent use, and strengthen security measures. I would like to continue to work on this. In addition, we would like to continue to disseminate information and raise awareness as an association so that customers who use credit cards can understand the security measures.
[PR]Provided by: Japan Credit Association