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Initiatives to Prevent Financial Crimes

Mizuho, as part of its social responsibility as a bank, is working aggressively to implement a wide range of measures against money laundering, terrorist financing, and losses as a result of illicit deposit withdrawals using cash cards (ATM cards), Internet banking, etc. and bank transfer fraud.

Efforts to Prevent Money Laundering, Etc.

In response to an increase in international demands for anti–money laundering and counter–terrorist financing measures in recent years, the Group is positioning the implementation of measures for anti–money laundering, counter–terrorist financing, and preventing other kinds of crimes as a top management priority. We are striving to prevent financial crimes through such activities as those to ensure that each branch thoroughly confirms requisite items based on applicable laws and regulations when new accounts are opened and through the establishment of specialized units that undertake the systematic monitoring of transactions that are improper, suspicious, or otherwise potentially problematic.

A measure that is indicative of Mizuho’s activities to prevent financial crime was the introduction in December 2008 of the Anti Money Laundering (AML) Monitoring system, which is effectively used by major European and U.S. banks. Mizuho was the first Japanese bank to adopt this system, which can monitor a multiplicity of deposit accounts comprehensively and continuously. In addition to monitoring the value of transactions, the number, and other indicators, the system can detect suspicious transactions activities automatically according to set conditions, and, by applying statistical methods, performs the function of identifying accounts where there is some doubt about money laundering through comparison and analysis of past transactions patterns in monitored accounts. If, as a result of research, the judgment is made that there is a possibility of improper usage of accounts, appropriate measures can be taken under legal regulations. Through monitoring, Mizuho has substantially strengthened its initiatives against money laundering.

  • Note:Regulations related to preventing transfer of criminal earnings
    "Act on Prevention of Transfer of Criminal Proceeds" (as revised in April 2013)

Initiatives to Prevent Losses as a Result of Illicit Deposit Withdrawals

Transition from regular cash cards (ATM cards) to smart IC cards

Mizuho Bank has substantially expanded its lineup of IC cash cards (ATM cards), including Mizuho Mileage Club Card and is actively issuing IC cash cards (ATM cards), which are considered more difficult to counterfeit than conventional magnetic stripe cards.

Biometric Authentication via Finger Vein Patterns

Mizuho Bank has adopted a biometric authentication system that identifies customers based on data of their vein patterns, which differ from one individual to another. To encourage a wider range of customers to use biometrics, Mizuho has installed in all the ATM areas, ATMs which have this identification feature.

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IC Cash Card (ATM Card)

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Sticker indicating an ATM can provide biometric authentication.

Internet Banking

Recently, there has been an increase in losses as a result of illicit deposit withdrawals using Internet banking through the use of illegal software programs.

For individual customers, Mizuho Bank (MHBK) has introduced the Token Method and an e–mail method* both of which involves the use of a one–time password. In addition, to give its customers greater peace of mind, MHBK monitors banking activity to detect suspicious transactions 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

For corporate customers, MHBK has introduced a function that separates the authority for approving bank transfers from the authority for preparing such transfer data. In addition to "double approval" function, where two people with approval authority must give approval for transactions, MHBK also provides anti–malware software at no charge to its customers, and has introduced IC cards for electronic certificate and one–time passwords. The aim of undertaking these measures is to strengthen security and give customers greater peace of mind.

  • *Note: E–mail method one–time password
    When transfers are to be made from customers' accounts to parties other than those already registered in the system, and the MHBK system judges that there is a possibility that some party other than the authorized person has accessed the system, MHBK sends an identification number to the customers’ registered e–mail address. To implement transfers, this number must be input. This e–mail method has proved to be effective in preventing illicit deposit withdrawals.

Activities to Prevent Losses to Customer due to Bank Transfer Fraud

Recently the number of incidents where customers incur losses due to bank transfer fraud has been rising. Examples often mentioned are where the party with criminal intent calls a party at home, posing as his or her child or grandchild, and requests the party to hand over or transfer a certain amount of money to an account. In other cases, the caller poses as a police officer or employee of a bankers association and asks for cash or the cash card (ATM card) of a party being deceived. In other cases, the caller poses as an employee of the social health insurance organization, pretends to return medical expenses, and makes a party remit a fund. Another tactic is to pose as a brokerage, offer to sell bonds, pre–listed shares, etc., and cheat a party out of his or her money.

MHBK and Mizuho Trust & Banking (MHTB) are stepping up their activities to prevent these incidents by having bank branch employees say a word of warning as they monitor customers at teller windows and ATMs. Other activities are preparation of posters, flyers, website messages, ATM screen messages, etc. that warn customers about these deceptive practices.

At each of the branches of MHBK and MHTB, the above–mentioned activities are being continued to prevent such incidents in advance.

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MHBK advertisement entitled "Guide to Measures against Financial Crime"

Assist Customers who Experienced Issues with Deceptive Practices

Mizuho is providing compensation and providing allocations based on various relevant legal provisions.

Mizuho provides advice on compensation to individual customers who are victimized by illicit deposit withdrawals.

Based on the Depositor Protection Law*1, compensation is provided for losses caused by counterfeited or stolen cash cards (ATM cards).

Mizuho provides compensation to those who have been victimized as a result of stolen passbooks and illicit deposit withdrawals using the Internet banking, based on "Arrangements Agreed Upon and Announced by the Japanese Bankers Association."*2

  • *1Depositor Protection Law
    "Act on Protection, etc. of Depositors and Postal Saving Holders from Unauthorized Automated Withdrawal etc. Using Counterfeit Cards, etc. and Stolen Cards, etc." (Effective February 2006)
  • *2Arrangements Agreed Upon and Announced by the Japanese Bankers Association
    Arrangements regarding compensation for losses incurred in connection with transfers under false pretenses using stolen passbooks and Internet banking. (Disclosed February 2008)

Initiatives to Deal with Losses as a Result of Bank Transfer Fraud

Based on the “Law for Dealing with Deceptive Transfer Practices”*, allocations are made from the accounts used for deceptive practices to help victims to recover from losses incurred as a result of such practices. MHBK has established a specialized consultation desk and facilitates smooth implementation of the law.

  • *Note: Law for Providing Relief from Deceptive Transfer Practices
    "Act on Damage Recovery Benefit Distributed from Funds in Bank Accounts Used for Crimes" (Effective June 2008)

Consultation Desks

In addition to consultation desks in bank branches, the following specialized advisory services are available:

For seeking compensation for losses as a result of illicit deposit withdrawals

  • Mizuho Bank Customers:
    Security Support Center
    0120–868–715*
  • Mizuho Trust & Banking Customers
    Compliance Department
    03–3596–3899*

For payment of funds to recover from losses as a result of bank transfer fraud

  • Mizuho Bank Customers
    Call Center for Customers Who Are Victims of Bank Transfer Fraud
    0120–233–862*
  • Mizuho Trust & Banking Customers
    Compliance Department
    03–3596–3899*
  • *Business hours: Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm (Except bank holidays)
    Available only in Japanese language