Despite the challenging travel conditions around Baltimore yesterday, we had the pleasure of meeting with Daisuke Ishii and Yukihisa Hode, two Senior Researchers from The Center for Financial Industry Information Systems (Japan). The FISC is a Japanese nonprofit research organization founded in 1984 and supported by some 700 Japanese financial services organizations and vendors marketing to that industry. Their mission is to engage in research services pertaining to the Japanese financial services industry.The meeting was coordinated by Michael Parentice, an independent consultant based in the United States.
FISC's current research project relates to new media and social networking in Japan's financial services industry. As input they are seeking best practice examples from leading U.S. financial institutions that are leaders in the use of social media. Based on Mr. Prentice's research, he felt that we were one of the organizations that they should meet. This was the first visit on their five day trip across the country that includes meetings with Bank of America, Umpqua Bank, and Wells Fargo. We are honored to be included in this short list of financial institutions.
As we discussed the evolution of our efforts, it became clear that there are signficant challenges to FI's involvement in social networks. The Japanese culture is one of collaboration and consensus building. So many of the initial social media efforts have focused on internal corporate use for information sharing and communication. Given the conservative nature of the banking industry, it has been very difficult to get consensus across the organization to engage their customers in the same way. It will be interesting to see how this FISC report on the US bank's efforts will impact them in the long term. We'll keep you posted when we get the final report.