The Monetary Authority of Singapore says it has received 21 applications for five available digital bank licences from firms operating across the full spectrum of financial and technology services.
With the application deadline closing on 31 December, MAS reports that it has been inundated with seven bids for the digital full bank (DFB) licences, and 14 targeting the digital wholesale bank (DWB) licences.
The initiative is intended to inject competition into the banking sector by enabling non-bank players with innovative digital business models to offer banking services. DFBs will be allowed to take retail deposits, while DWBs will focus on serving SMEs and other non-retail segments.
Applicants include e-commerce firms, technology and telecommunications companies, fintechs - such as crowd-funding platforms and payment services providers - and financial institutions. The majority of applicants are consortiums, says MAS, with entities seeking to combine their individual strengths to enhance the digital bank’s value proposition.
Publicly known bids include those from wealth management tech supplier iFast, gaming group Razer, ride-hailing firm Grab and teclco SingTel, Chinese giant Ant Financial and Southeast Asian consumer internet company Sea Limited.
The successful applicants will be announced in June 2020, with the winning bids expected to commence business by mid-2021.