Ant Group subsidiary among successful digital bank applicants in Singapore
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) today announced four successful digital bank applicants, including an entity wholly-owned by Ant Group.
The applicants selected for the award of banking licences to operate digital banks are as follows:
Digital Full Bank (DFB)
- A consortium comprising Grab Holding Inc. and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd.
- An entity wholly-owned by Sea Ltd.
Digital Wholesale Bank (DWB)
- A consortium comprising Greenland Financial Holdings Group Co. Ltd, Linklogis Hong Kong Ltd, and Beijing Co-operative Equity Investment Fund Management Co. Ltd.
- An entity wholly-owned by Ant Group Co. Ltd.
The successful applicants must meet all relevant prudential requirements and licensing pre-conditions before MAS grants them their respective banking licences. The regulator 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. The applications were assessed on the following criteria:
- value proposition of business model, incorporating innovative use of technology to serve customer needs and reach under-served segments;
- ability to manage a prudent and sustainable digital banking business; and
- growth prospects and other contributions to Singapore’s financial centre.
The assessment was done on a holistic basis, taking into account all relevant considerations for each criterion. MAS also took into consideration the eligible applicants’ reviews of the business plans and assumptions underpinning their financial projections arising from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic .
To select the successful applicants, MAS set stringent expectations across the assessment criteria. Regarding 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.
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.”