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Dollar accounts popular in Okinawa’s banks

Date Posted: 2002-08-15

All three major Okinawan banks, the Bank of the Ryukyus, Okinawa Bank and Kaiho Bank have accepted dollar accounts since this spring, and the popularity of the new accounts has far exceeded the banks’ expectations.

With a dollar account, a customer can deposit his or her dollars without needing to convert the money first into yen. The account pays interest in dollars, and charges for transactions are also paid in dollars.

The Bank of the Ryukyus is currently even conducting a special advertising campaign offering special incentives to people who open a dollar account with more than $5,000 deposit.

According to an official at Okinawa Bank, the total amount of dollar deposits in their bank has increased 58 percent since March. “The dollar has been stronger than yen lately, so people can realize extra interest every time when the yen goes down,” the official said.

The only risk that the dollar accounts have is that the deposits are not protected in the case the bank goes under. The yen accounts are so far fully protected although the government is currently trying hard to change that.

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