Standard Chartered Hires Judo Bank’s Co-Founder to Reportedly Work on Digital Bank in Singapore

Standard Chartered Hires Judo Bank’s Co-Founder to Reportedly Work on Digital Bank in Singapore

by August 19, 2020

Standard Chartered is working with Singapore’s National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) Enterprise on its second digital-only bank in Asia, people familiar with the matter told media.

The new initiative is still at an early stage, the persons said, and has been code-named Project Phoenix. Standard Chartered would hold a majority stake in the new venture, with the remainder held by NTUC Enterprise, the holding entity and single largest shareholder of the labor movement’s social enterprises.

Alex Twigg, co-founder of Judo Bank, has been hired for the new venture. Judo Bank is an Australian challenger bank that focuses on lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Twigg is also the co-founder of UBank, another digital bank part of National Australian Bank, and is a board advisor and investor in multiple fintech companies, according to his LinkedIn profile. Twigg left Judo Bank in June, according to Judo Bank co-founder Joseph Healy.

Standard Chartered accelerates digital banking moves in Asia

The news of Standard Chartered’s upcoming digital bank in Singapore comes at the time when the bank’s Hong Kong virtual banking offering, Mox, has just begun trial.

Mox is currently offering its services to selected external customers who have been able to enjoy features and products such as an all-in-one numberless bank card, near-instant account opening, personal finance management functionalities, and more. Mox also claims it is the first virtual bank in Hong Kong to support Google Pay.

Standard Chartered holds 65.1% in Mox, while local partners PCCW, HKT and Ctrip Finance hold 10%, 15% and 9.9% respectively. The consortium obtained a virtual banking licenses in Hong Kong last year, alongside seven other applicants.

In Singapore, the Standard Chartered/NTUC Enterprise duo will be competing against larger local rivals including DBS Group, as well as non-bank challengers, such tech decacorn Grab and Internet group Sea, which have applied for a digital banking license in the city-state.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the nation’s financial regulator and central bank, will issue two digital full bank licenses and three digital wholesale bank licenses later this year in a bid to spur innovation by opening up the market to new players.

MAS said in January it had received a total of 21 applications for its digital bank licenses. Out of the 21 applications, 14 eligible applicants (five digital full banks and nine digital wholesale banks) will progress to the next stage of assessment, MAS said in June.

Besides its digital banking moves in Asia, Standard Chartered also operates a digital-only bank in Africa, serving markets including Ghana, Kenya, Botswana, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Standard Chartered has been actively working on its digital transformation, unveiling last week a three-year strategic partnership with Microsoft to become a “cloud-first bank.”

Standard Chartered will be using Microsoft’s cloud computing service, Microsoft Azure, as its preferred cloud platform. The bank will first be moving its trade finance systems onto the cloud, and by 2025, it plans to have key systems and applications including its core banking and trading systems as well as new digital ventures such as virtual banking and banking-as-a-service on Microsoft Azure as well as.