Monetary Authority of Singapore to issue five new digital bank licenses

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is looking to issue five new digital bank licenses, furthering its goal of adding more digital banks to the country.

This will be in addition to any digital banks that existing banking groups in the country are hoping to launch.

Adding these new digital players will add more diversity and bolster Singapore’s banking system for the future. The regulator also hopes these players will be better suited at supporting the underserved segments of the market.

These five new licenses will comprise of at least two digital full bank licences which will allow the holder to provide a variety of financial services and take deposits from retail customers. In addition to this, the regulator will offer three digital wholesale bank licenses, which give the licensee to serve SMEs and non-retail segments.

Applications for a full bank licence are open to companies headquartered in Singapore and controlled by Singaporeans, the MAS said. Foreign companies are eligible for a full bank licence if they form a joint venture with a Singapore company and the joint venture meets the headquarter and control requirements.

All companies can apply for a wholesale bank license.

MAS senior minister and chairman Tharman Shanmugaratnam said, “The new digital bank licences mark the next chapter in Singapore’s banking liberalisation journey. They will ensure that Singapore’s banking sector continues to be resilient, competitive and vibrant.”

The regulator hopes to invite applications in August 2019 and will offer more details on eligibility and admission criteria at the time.

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