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14 digital bank applicants to progress to next stage of assessment: MAS

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The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Thursday said that 14 out of the 21 digital bank applications will progress to the next stage of assessment. This was after they had met the eligibility criteria.

THE Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Thursday said that 14 out of the 21 digital bank applications will progress to the next stage of assessment. This was after they had met the eligibility criteria.

Five of the 14 left standing are digital full bank applicants, while nine are digital wholesale bank applicants. The MAS did not name the shortlisted applicants. 

The central bank and regulator had received 21 digital bank applications in January 2020.

This means that two out of the seven applicants for the digital full bank licences have since been knocked out, while five applicants for the digital wholesale bank licences failed to make the cut.

The digital full bank applicants who had thrown their names into the hat included a consortium made up of Grab and Singtel, as well as Internet group Sea Ltd. As for the digital wholesale bank licences, players such as Ant Financial, and consortia led by Hong Kong names such as AMTD Group and Sheng Ye Capital, had also applied.

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Reuters reported on Thursday, citing two sources familiar with the matter, that those shortlisted for the next round of the selection process for digital full bank licences include Grab's and Singtel's joint venture, solo applicant Sea Ltd, a group headed by Razer Fintech, as well as a MatchMove-Singapura Finance consortium. 

Beyond - a consortium led by Ron Sim's V3 Group - said it had proceeded to the next round of evaluation for the digital full bank licence, Reuters reported. 

Mainboard-listed fintech platform iFAST Corp also confirmed in an evening announcement on Thursday that it is one of the shortlisted digital wholesale bank candidates. 

The Business Times understands that a Sheng Ye Capital-led consortium, which includes Phillip Capital and Advance.AI, also made the shortlist for digital wholesale banks. 

In the next stage of assessment, the 14 applicants will be invited to present their proposals via virtual meetings.

They will then be shortlisted based on their value proposition and business model which incorporates the innovative use of technology, as well as their ability to manage a prudent and sustainable digital banking business. The MAS will also look at the applicant's growth prospects and other contributions to Singapore's financial centre.

The MAS has asked all eligible applicants to review the business plans and assumptions underpinning their financial projections, including sources of funding. Eligible applicants will also need to provide an independent review of these assumptions.

This is due to the Covid-19 pandemic's impact on macroeconomic and business conditions since the applications were received at end-2019.

The MAS said it does not expect the request for updated business plans and financial projections to affect the timeline for the award of the digital bank licences by the end of 2020.

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