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07 January 2020

Singapore's MAS receives 21 applications for digital bank licences

In June 2019, the central bank said that it plans to issue as many as five new digital bank licences to non-banks to strengthen competition in financial services.

Successful groups are expected to start business by mid-2021/BLOOMBERG

Singapore received 21 applications from groups seeking one of the country’s new digital bank licences, according to the nation’s financial regulator, reported Bloomberg.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) stated that the licences have attracted strong interest from a diverse group of applicants. The regulator said that seven of the applications were for digital full bank licences, while 14 were for wholesale permits and the results will be announced in June 2020.

The UK and Hong Kong are among major economies that have already issued similar permits, creating a new generation of rivals for traditional lenders.

Applications were due at the end of last year. Successful groups are expected to start business by mid-2021.

The MAS did not disclose the names of the applicants but several firms—Including Grab Holdings, Razer and Jack Ma’s Ant Financial—have announced they submitted bids in recent days.

The full digital banks will require total capital of SGD 1.5 billion ($1.1 billion) and must be controlled by Singaporeans. Digital banks will be allowed to provide a range of financial services as well as take deposits from retail customers and the MAS plans to award up to two such licences.

There are up to three digital wholesale permits on offer, limited to corporate clients and requiring a minimum SDG 100 million of capital and these are open to both local and foreign applicants.


RELATED STORIES: Grab Holdings Ant Financial Monetary Authority of Singapore digital bank licences





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