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MAS announces applicants of digital bank licences in Singapore

By Edil Corneille

December 07, 2020

  • Mas
  • Singapore
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MAS, Monetary Authority of Singapore, central bank, open banking, FinTech, digital banking, LicencesThe Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country’s central bank, announced four successful digital bank applicants. A consortium comprising Grab Holding Inc. and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. and an entity wholly-owned by Sea Ltd. have been selected for the award of banking licences under the Digital Full Bank (DFB) category. 2 other applicants awarded the licences under the Digital Wholesale Bank (DWB) category are – a consortium comprising Greenland Financial Holdings Group Co. Ltd, Linklogis Hong Kong Ltd, and Beijing Co-operative Equity Investment Fund Management Co. Ltd., and an entity wholly-owned by Ant Group Co. Ltd.

These applicants have to meet all relevant prudential requirements and licensing pre-conditions before MAS grants them the banking licences. MAS expects the new digital banks to commence operations from early 2022.

Ravi Menon, Managing Director of MAS said, “MAS applied a rigorous, merit-based process to select a strong slate of digital banks. We expect them to thrive alongside the incumbent banks and raise the industry’s bar in delivering quality financial services, particularly for currently underserved businesses and individuals. They will further strengthen Singapore’s financial sector for the digital economy of the future.”

MAS had previously announced that it would award banking licences for up to two DFBs and up to three DWBs. There were a total of 14 eligible applications. The applications were assessed on the criteria of the value proposition of the business model and incorporating innovative use of technology to serve customer needs and reach under-served segments; ability to manage a prudent and sustainable digital banking business; and growth prospects and other contributions to Singapore’s financial centre.

The assessment was done on a holistic basis, taking into account all relevant considerations for each criterion. MAS also took into consideration the eligible applicants’ reviews of the business plans and assumptions underpinning their financial projections arising from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the DWBs are introduced as a pilot, MAS will review whether to grant more of such licences in the future.

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