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Grab-Singtel, Sea selected for digital full bank licences

THE Grab-Singtel consortium and a wholly-owned entity from Sea Ltd have been selected to receive the digital full bank licences (DFBs) in Singapore, with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) saying the pair selected were "clearly stronger" than the rest of the pack.

The successful applicants must meet all relevant prudential requirements and licensing pre-conditions before MAS grants them their respective banking licences, the regulator said.

MAS 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:

1) value proposition of business model, incorporating innovative use of technology to serve customer needs and reach under-served segments;

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2) ability to manage a prudent and sustainable digital banking business;

3) growth prospects and other contributions to Singapore's financial centre

MAS said 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.

The regulator said the two selected DFB applicants were "clearly stronger" than the other eligible DFB applicants.

In a statement, 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."

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