Grab, SEA and Ant Among Those Who Secured Singapore’s Digital Banking License

Grab, SEA and Ant Among Those Who Secured Singapore’s Digital Banking License

by December 4, 2020

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced four successful digital bank applicants. The full digital bank license was awarded to the Grab-Singtel consortium and SEA Group best known for its brands; Shopee and Garena.

Meanwhile the digital wholesale bank license were awarded to two Chinese linked entities namely; a wholly-owned entity of Ant Group and a consortium comprising of Greenland Financial Holdings, Linklogis Hong Kong, and Beijing Co-operative Equity Investment Fund Management

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

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.

According to MAS, the applications were assessed based on three factors; value proposition, ability to manage a prudent and digital banking business, and growth prospects and other contributions to Singapore’s financial centre.

To select the successful applicants, MAS set stringent expectations across the assessment criteria. The two selected DFB applicants were clearly stronger than the other eligible DFB applicants. As for the DWBs, the two selected applicants met MAS’ expectations and were assessed to be demonstrably stronger across the criteria notwithstanding the general high quality of the eligible applicants. MAS has thus decided to award banking licences to the two DWBs. As the DWBs are introduced as a pilot, MAS will review whether to grant more of such licences in the future.

Ravi Menon

Ravi Menon

Mr 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.”

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