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MAS invites applications for digital bank licences

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The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has announced that it is accepting applications for digital bank licences. 

Tharman Shanmugaratnam, senior minister and chairman of MAS, first revealed the authority’s intentions in June 2019, when he told Singapore banks that MAS planned to issue a maximum of two digital full bank licences and three digital wholesale bank licences. 

Companies issued with a digital full bank licence will be allowed to take deposits from, and offer financial services to, both retail and non-retail customer segments. Those issued a digital wholesale bank licence will be allowed to serve SMEs and other non-retail segments. 

MAS has said that the licences will ensure that Singapore’s banking sector remains “resilient, competitive and vibrant.” To be considered, applicants must meet a range of eligibility criteria – including a good business track record, fit and proper shareholders, and capital commitment – and be based in Singapore.

Eligible applicants will then be assessed based on their value proposition, prudence and sustainability, and growth prospects. The authority will particularly consider the strength of the applicants’ regulatory compliance and plans for risk management, MAS said. Successful applicants will be announced in mid-2020.