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Heartful Project

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To Make the Bank Accessible to Everyone

Background of the Heartful Project

With a quarter of its population projected to be age 65 or older in 2014, Japan's population is rapidly aging. On another front, there are strong desires to take steps that would allow people with disabilities to more actively participate in social and economic activities. Implementation of the Act on Promotion of Smooth Transportation, etc. of Elderly Persons, Disabled Persons, etc. to help address population aging and accessibility issues is only one development reflecting society's rising demands for greater accessibility to facilities serving large numbers of people. MHBK, recognizing the significance of this development, began pursuing the "Heartful Project" in November 2005 to become a bank that is easy for anyone to use regardless of age, gender or disability, and is promoting the adoption of barrier–free design principles on various fronts.

Implementing "Bank Universal Design" on Three Fronts – Facilities, Services, and psychology

Under the "Heartful Project," MHBK is aiming not only to realize "barrier–free banks," which have eliminated barriers (inconveniences) that hinder access for certain groups of people but to create banks incorporating universal design principles that satisfy the needs of everyone. In pursuing this project, MHBK is advancing facility–related initiatives addressing buildings, building facilities, and equipment; service–related initiatives for responding to customer needs in face–to–face and Internet–based interaction; and psychological initiatives to improve interpersonal skills through training and other means. MHBK is striving in these ways to eliminate the causes of inconvenience and dissatisfaction for customers.

In fiscal 2011, MHBK developed formal procedures for writing on behalf, and reading for the benefit, of visually impaired customers at service counters. These services were already being performed but without a formal framework. MHBK also took steps to more thoroughly serve the visually impaired, who cannot easily use an ATM for cash transfers, and customers in wheelchairs by confirming their needs and then serving them at a service counter. At the same time, a new cash transfer service–fee level, similar to the ATM usage fee, was implemented for the provision of these services.

Overview of the Heartful Project

Initiatives Win Awards

Initiatives of the "Heartful Project," which aims to make the bank accessible to everyone, have won high praise from local governments and others, as well as customers. MHBK's efforts on behalf of accessibility, in many senses, have been recognized by in various quarters. In January 2011, MHBK became the first financial institution to receive the Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and Tourism's "Award for Promoting Barrier–free". It has received other awards and prizes from local governments and various organizations as described below.

Awards Received
Date Sponsor Name of Commendation or Award
Dec 2006 Tokyo Metropolitan Government Won the commendation from the Governor of Tokyo in recognition of its contribution to welfare services for 2006.
Mar 2009 Aichi Prefecture Won the "14th People–friendly Town Planning Prize".
Nov 2009 Kanagawa Prefecture Won the "Second Barrier–free Urban Development Award".
Jan 2010 Hokkaido Won the "Welfare Community Development Award for 2009".
Feb 2010 Japan Facility Management Promotion Association Won the "Fourth Japan Facility Management Grand Prize (JFMA Prize) Encouragement Award".
Jun 2010 Nagano Prefecture Won the Fiscal 2010 Social Welfare Prize (Barrier–free urban development category).
Jan 2011 Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Won the "Fourth Award for Promoting Barrier–free".
Mar 2012 Hyogo Prefecture Been named the first recipient of the "Hyogo Prefecture Citizens Universal Facility" certification.

MHBK Kawanishi Branch First to Receive the "Hyogo Prefecture Citizens Universal Facility" Certification

In creating its Kawanishi Branch (also known as "Mizuho Personal Square Kawanishi"), MHBK aimed to create a banking facility that anyone could easily use. The Kawanishi Branch, which opened in August 2011, incorporates know–how gained through the "Heartful Project." It features ATMs equipped for visually impaired users, parking spaces for wheelchair users, and other measures intended to promote accessibility.

With the instrumental assistance of an accessibility adviser*, these initiatives won positive recognition and, in March 2012, MHBK Kawanishi Branch was named the first recipient of the "Hyogo Prefecture Citizens Universal Facility" certification.

  • *Advisers (architecture and social welfare experts, disabled people with relevant expertise, and others) are registered by Hyogo Prefecture as parties who are qualified to perform inspections and provide advice, both from a user perspective, on facilities equipped and operated with the needs of the elderly and people with disabilities in mind.
Overview of the Hyogo Prefecture Citizens Universal Facility

Under Hyogo Prefecture's accessible urban development ordinance, the Governor of Hyogo Prefecture, with citizen input, certifies facilities as properly equipped and operated in accordance with the advice of accessibility experts.


Parking spaces for wheelchair users have been positioned next to the bank's accessible entrance.


The barrier–free status of each branch is indicated at the branch entrance in order to make it readily apparent to customers.

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