Out-Law News

Applications close for digital bank licences in Singapore

Up to five new digital banks are expected to be operational in Singapore by the middle of 2021, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has said.

The central bank announced on Tuesday that it has received 21 applications for new digital bank licences being issued in the city state. The successful applicants will be announced this June.

MAS has ambitions for Singapore to become a hub for digital banks, and to that end it announced plans last July to issue up to five new digital bank licences.

Two of the five new licences will be digital full bank licences and the remaining three, digital wholesale bank licences. Licensees who have the former licence type will be able to provide a range of "financial services and take deposits from retail customers"; the latter licence type will enable licensees to service non-retail customers and SMEs.

In its latest announcement, MAS said that "a diverse group of applicants" have shown interest in obtaining the new licences on offer.

"These include e-commerce firms, technology and telecommunications companies, fintechs (such as crowd-funding platforms and payment services providers) and financial institutions," MAS said. "The majority of applicants are consortiums, with entities seeking to combine their individual strengths to enhance the digital bank’s value proposition."

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