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Feature on Customer Protection

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Initiatives to Pursue Higher Customer Satisfaction

Extending Customer-Responsive Measures and Reinforcing Consumer Protection

Since the global financial crisis in the autumn of 2008, which was triggered by the subprime loan issue in the United States, citizens are increasingly focused on the corporate ethics and CSR of financial institutions. Given such a social climate, Mizuho pursues higher customer satisfaction with initiatives to reinforce customer service and enhance consumer protection based on the customer-first principle.

To this end, it is important for Mizuho to carefully listen to customer feedback in the form of "opinions," "requests" and "complaints." For example, Mizuho Bank endeavors to increase channels for customers' feedback including the opening of a dedicated phone line to hear opinions and complaints and a mechanism to receive viewpoints on its website. Moreover, the feedback is collected and managed to subsequently troubleshoot various issues and plan future measures, including companywide business improvement proposals.

The desire for more stringent consumer protection has increased in Japan recently. In this context, the Consumer Affairs Agency was established in September 2009 to monitor and oversee diverse issues regarding the safety and security of products and services from the consumers' standpoint. In response to this social request, Mizuho is further reinforcing multifaceted measures to prevent various financial crimes such as remittance solicitation fraud, counterfeit cash cards and the illegal use of Internet banking as a leading financial group with one of Japan's largest sales networks.

Using Customer Feedback to Improve Business

Mizuho Bank has implemented customer feedback cards, which are available at each branch, to actively seek feedback. In addition, customer satisfaction surveys are regularly conducted to understand the appraisal and degree of satisfaction with branches, products and/or services, as well as the hospitality response of employees at service counters. The feedback is collected and used to improve branch operations, products and services.

Furthermore, to more widely and directly collect feedback, a dedicated, toll-free phone line was opened in January 2010 to hear opinions and complaints from customers. In February 2010, the website was revised to allow viewers to directly enter their opinions or complaints onto an entry form.

The collected opinions and complaints are managed in a unified manner so that they can be quickly and effectively used to analyze trends and/or direct management issues. The resulting causes and/or issues to be resolved are fed back to the relevant headquarters and/or branches to facilitate their improvement. Important matters to be studied and/or improved are discussed as agenda items of the CS Promotion Committee, which meets every three months with the attendance of not only top management members and corporate officers but also external knowledgeable persons.

Some cases of improvements resulting from customer feedback were previously disclosed on the website, and more cases have been disclosed since fiscal 2009. Starting in fiscal 2010, these cases are now broadcast on the TV monitors in the branches. Some branches have started a new initiative to reflect requests and improvement cases on the customer feedback board, which is installed near the collection box for customer feedback cards.

Mechanism to Listen to Customer Feedback

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The Collection Box for Customer Feedback Cards and the Customer Feedback Board

Manager's Comments

I intend to reinforce the improvement cycle that starts with customer feedback.

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Masahiro Hosogaya Planning Team, Customer Satisfaction Division Mizuho Bank

The mission of our department is not only to appropriately handle customers' opinions and complaints but also to plan and promote customer-first measures in the pursuit of higher companywide customer satisfaction. Specifically, we collect and analyze the feedback data and promote improvement activity on an ongoing basis by sharing the results among related units such as headquarters and branches. To this end, all employees need to voluntarily address improvement measures every day based on the customer feedback. The Customer Satisfaction Division, therefore, currently reviews the streamlining of the infrastructure to ensure that the customer feedback and business improvement input are visible and that related data and information can be internally shared. In addition, before streamlining the infrastructure, we had incorporated education to increase customer satisfaction into the employee training program effective from fiscal 2009. Each of us at Mizuho Bank will strive to strengthen the pursuit of higher customer satisfaction as part of the corporate culture of Mizuho Bank through these initiatives.

Initiatives to Prevent Financial Crimes

Implement Measures to Address Diversifying Financial Crimes Such as Remittance Solicitation Fraud, Counterfeit Cash Cards and Unauthorized Access to Accounts

Although lumped together as "financial crimes," there are various crimes ranging from those targeting individuals to large-scale money Laundering that crosses national borders.

Of all the crimes, the ones with a high probability that individual customers who are depositors will fall victim are remittance fraud, theft of passbooks and personal seals, counterfeiting and theft of cash cards, the scam of stealing an Internet banking customer ID and password and accessing the account fraudulently, as well as phishing fraud in which e-mail from financial institutions or other organizations and their Web sites are simulated and personal identification numbers and credit card numbers are stolen.

Prevent the Improper Opening and/or Use of Bank Acounts

In order to prevent financial crimes in which bank deposit accounts and settlement service functions are used fraudulently and to protect customers' valuable property, Mizuho has standardized on implementing measures in conformity with a cycle of anti-crime measures that begins with preemptive prevention, moves to early detection and minimization, shifts to damage recovery, and ends with efforts to prevent recurrences. Of these measures, we are focusing especially on "preemptive prevention" as the first step toward preventing financial crimes, and we are working to prevent establishment of accounts used fraudulently in crimes such as remittance fraud.

When someone opens an account, Mizuho verifies the person in accordance with the provisions of the laws*1 and asks for the purpose of using the account. In addition, by distributing a leaflet to inform people that the buying or selling of accounts is a crime, we are striving to prevent the opening of accounts used fraudulently in crimes such as remittance fraud.

Reinforce Measures to Prevent Damage from Remittance Fraud

Mizuho Bank strives to prevent its customers from incurring damages due to remittance solicitation fraud with measures such as asking questions directly to customers at the service counter and at the ATM corner; raising attention with posters, leaflets, video broadcasts and ATM screen messages; and restricting the use of mobile phones at the ATM corner. In particular, highly visible signage that says "Be careful of remittance fraud!" is installed at each ATM corner.

The branches of Mizuho Bank continue to take low-profile measures to prevent damages from remittance solicitation fraud.

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Signage Calling Attention to Remittance Solicitation Fraud

Realize Solid Security by Using Cash Cards with a Built-in IC Biometric Authentication Function

In order to prevent damage from fraudulent withdrawals perpetrated by counterfeiting or stealing cash cards, Mizuho Bank is promoting conversion of cash cards into IC cards. In addition, by preparing the Cash Card Security Guide - which gives detailed explanations of measures against scams used for extracting personal identification numbers and for peeping at ATM information - and distributing it at business promotion offices, we are appealing to customers to be careful.

Of all these measures, the especially effective one is active use of biometric authentication using a finger vein authentication system which confirms a person's identity by means of the patterns of veins in the person's fingers. Mizuho's IC cash cards equipped with biometric authentication functions enable customers to set three different usage limits - one for biometrically authenticated transactions, one for IC transactions, and one for magnetic strip transactions - which means that customers can enjoy safer use of their cards. For example, by setting the cash withdrawal limits for IC transactions and magnetic strip transactions to zero yen and the cash withdrawal limit for biometrically authenticated transactions to an amount such as one million yen, the card will in effect become a card for only biometrically authenticated transactions, so customers can feel a sense of ease even if their cards are lost or stolen.

Regarding new issuances or switchover issuances of IC cash cards equipped with biometric authentication functions, we request that customers inquire to a customer service counter near them.

In addition, if by any chance a customer loses money in a fraud, we request that the customer inquire to any of the service counters listed below.

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Security Guide Book Describes the Explanation of How a Crime is Committed.

Implement Measures to Deter the Illegal Use of Internet Banking

In order to combat an increasing number of financial crimes in which Internet banking customer IDs and passwords are obtained fraudulently and accounts are then accessed, Mizuho Bank has continually bolstered various measures to prevent illegal access to the Mizuho Direct "Internet Banking" Website through which it provides services for Internet banking, mobile banking, and telephone banking.

Specifically, these efforts include introduction of software keyboards for entering login passwords (August 2005), enlargement of login passwords to 32 digits (January 2006), construction of an operating structure for closing phishing Websites in a short period of time (June 2007), introduction of Multipurpose Account Overdraft Selection Service to limit damage from fraudulent cash withdrawals (September 2007), and introduction of "disposable" one-time passwords that differ for each transaction (March 2008).

From June 2008, we became the first Japanese bank to introduce login authentication using Risk Based Authentication. Risk Based Authentication is a structure that comprehensively analyzes a customer's user environment (i.e., information such as personal computer settings and Internet service provider IP addresses), that monitors the state of use in real time while making risk calculations, and that detects system access suspected of being illegal use. If suspicious system access is detected, the structure uses a password set by the user beforehand to execute additional authentication and verify again whether the system is being used by the person himself. This enables effective prevention of illegal use by a third party on a different environment.

Furthermore, at the same that we introduced Risk Based Authentication, we also added a function that displays a customer's previously registered image on the login entry screen, thus allowing the customer to verify that the site is legitimate.

Mizuho Bank will continue to strengthen security measures so that customers can keep on using Mizuho Direct "Internet Banking" at their ease.

Compensate for Damages and Pay Damage Recovery Distributions in Accordance with Various Laws and Regulations

Regarding money lost due to fraudulent withdrawals of deposits, on the basis of the Depositor Protection Law*1 enacted in February 2006 and the agreement officially announced by the Japanese Bankers Association*2 in February 2008, Mizuho is compensating customers who have incurred damage.

Furthermore, with regard to money lost due to remittance fraud, on the basis of the Law Concerning Remedies to Remittance Solicitation Fraud*3, which was enacted in June 2008, we are paying damage recovery distributions (left in deposit accounts used in crimes) to victims of fraud. The deposit accounts used in crimes that are accounts applicable to payments of damage recovery distributions, including the application periods, are announced publicly over the Internet, in order of precedence, by the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Japan*4.

We request that customers who have incurred damage make sure to contact one of the following customer service counters.

  • *1The Depositor Protection Law is a law on protecting depositors from fraudulent automated savings withdrawals using counterfeit or stolen cards.
  • *2The JBA's officially announced agreement is an agreement on making compensation for damages from stolen passbooks and illegal use of Internet banking.
  • *3This is a law on payments of damage recovery distributions using funds relating to deposit accounts used in crimes.
  • *4The information is announced publicly on the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Japan's Website (Japanese Text Only) for public announcements regarding the Law Concerning Remedies to Remittance Solicitation Fraud.

In addition, Mizuho Bank's applicable accounts can also be checked at Mizuho Bank branches.

For each applicable deposit account used in a crime, an application period is established for payment of damage recovery distributions. Please be aware that applications will not be accepted after the elapse of the application period.

Inquiry Counter for Customers Who Have Incurred Damage

Contact one of the following dedicated customer service counters, or the service counter at any branch.

  • Regarding compensation for damage from fraudulent withdrawals of deposits
    • Customers of Mizuho Bank:
      Security Support Center
      Toll Free: 0120-868-715*
    • Customers of Mizuho Trust & Banking:
      Security Planning Office, Operations Planning Department
      03-3274-3224*
  • Regarding payment of damage recovery distributions for remittance fraud
    • Customers of Mizuho Bank:
      Call Center for Restitution of Remittance Fraud Funds
      Toll Free: 0120-233-862*
    • Customers of Mizuho Trust & Banking:
      Security Planning Office, Operations Planning
      03-3274-3224*
  • (Note)Operating Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:00 to 17:00 (excluding bank's holidays)

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