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Singapore grants digital banking licence to four firms

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The four firms are Ant Group, Grab-Singtel, internet giant Sea and a consortium of Greenland Financial

The Monetary Authority of Singapore(MAS) has granted digital banking licences to four parties, media reports said. The four parties that received the licences are Ant Group, Grab-Singtel, internet giant Sea and a consortium of Greenland Financial Holdings.

A total of 21 different firms and consortiums applied for digital banking licences in Singapore; however, according to MAS, only 14 of them met the required criteria. Other parties such as Arrival Bank, Bytedance, Tiktok and iFast Group also applied for licences.

In June 2019, the Monetary Authority of Singapore first announced that it will issue two digital banking licences and three digital wholesale banking licences. The apex bank was expected to announce the name of the successful applicants in June 2020; however, the process was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Anthony Tan, chief executive officer and co-founder of Grab, in a statement, “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,” said MAS MD Ravi Menon in a statement. A handful of countries, including the UK, India and Hong Kong, have streamlined their regulations in recent years to grant tech companies the ability to operate as digital banks.

Ride-hailing firm Grab and telecom operator Singtel formed a consortium last year to apply for the digital full bank license. Their combined experience and expertise will allow them to empower more people to gain better control of their money and achieve better economic outcomes for themselves, their businesses and families, Tan added.

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