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Singapore to award its first digital bank licences by mid-2020

Singapore to award its first digital bank licences by mid-2020

Applicants are expected to submit their profiles by December 31

Singapore is planning to award its first digital bank licences by mid-2020, according to a media report. With that, applicants are expected to start their businesses in the following year. 

The Monetary Authority of Singapore will assess the applicants’ profiles which should be submitted by the end of the year. Growth prospects will be one of the criteria used to assess the applicants’ profiles. 

In June, the Monetary Authority of Singapore announced that it will grant as many as five new digital bank licences to non-banks to boost competition in financial services.

Grab, Razar and Malayan Banking have reportedly shown interest in this initiative. That said, Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) headquartered in Singapore is also planning to apply, media reports said.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has categorised the new licences in two ways. The first type will allow up to two digital banks for non-bank located in Singapore and controlled by Singaporeans. These banks will be able to provide financial services from retail customers. 

The second category will pertain to three digital wholesale banks exclusively for corporate clients — will be open to both local and foreign companies. 

Both categories necessitate one of the parties in a group must have a track record of three or more years in technology or e-commerce. This was another criteria mentioned by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Also, the concerned party is expected to have 20 percent of the total issued shares in the proposed digital bank. 

It seems that digital banks will require $1.1 billion capital within two years, while wholesale banks will need at least $100 million capital, reports said.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore said “Digital full-banks will be allowed to take deposits from and provide a wide range of financial services to retail and non-retail customer segments, while digital wholesale banks will be permitted to serve small- and medium-sized enterprises and other non-retail segments.” 

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