Singapore central bank to issue digital bank licences

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will be issuing up to five new digital bank licences. 

This is in addition to any digital banks that the Singapore banking groups may also establish under the existing internet banking framework introduced in 2000. 

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Chairman of MAS, announced the news at the 46th Annual Dinner of The Association of Banks in Singapore. 

Photo courtesy: MAS
Photo courtesy: MAS

“The new digital bank licences mark the next chapter in Singapore’s banking liberalisation journey,” he said. “They will ensure that Singapore’s banking sector continues to be resilient, competitive and vibrant.” 

The move extends digital bank licences to non-bank players. 

The five new digital bank licences will comprise up to two digital full bank licences, which allow licensees to provide a wide range of financial services and take deposits from retail customers. The remaining three are digital wholesale bank licences, which allow licensees to serve SMEs and other non-retail segments. 

Digital full bank licences are open to companies headquartered in Singapore and controlled by Singaporeans. However, foreign companies are eligible for these full bank licences if they form a joint venture with a Singapore company, subject to the same headquarter and control requirements. 

Meanwhile, application for digital wholesale bank licences is open to all companies.