Singapore liberalizing its banking sector, receives 21 applications for digital bank licenses

On Tuesday, Singapore’s central bank stated, it has received 21 applications for digital bank licenses which includes 7 licenses for retail banking while the balance is for wholesale bank licenses.

The development marks Singapore’s biggest liberalization of its banking sector in two decades as it pushes to bring about online-only banks which will have lower operating costs while offering services that differ from incumbents such as OCBC and DBS Group.

The digital bank application process had attracted a strong interest from a diverse group of companies, said Singapore’s central bank.

“These include e-commerce firms, technology and telecommunications companies, FinTechs (such as crowd-funding platforms and payment services providers) and financial institutions,” said the Monetary Authority of Singapore in a statement.

Among those who have sought digital banking licenses are Ant Financial, a venture of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd and Southeast Asian ride hailing firm Grab, as well as many Singaporean firms.

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