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Argentina's 1st fully digital bank gains central bank approval

Banco Central de la República Argentina on June 8 granted a banking license to the country's first fully digital bank, which should launch operations by the end of the year.

The new institution, to be called Wanap, will be launched by the end of the year with 40 employees and US$10 million in starting capital, La Nación reported citing executives who created the bank. In the first stage, the entity will focus on digital retail banking, although its founders have plans to add corporate banking services in the future.

The new digital bank's launch comes months after the company's founders, led by Corporación America Chairman Eduardo Eurnekián, filed a request for the banking license. Eurnekian has partnered with former Banco de la Provincia de Buenos Aires chief Guillermo Francos and Juan Carlos Ozcoidi to establish the online bank.

The bank was previously billed as Walap, but the founders changed the name to Wanap after discovering that their original name was already in use.

According to the report, the bank will provide the same products and banking services as most retail banks, such as credit lines, deposit and investment products but without branches. In order to offer these services, the bank has secured agreements with the Link ATM network and retail businesses for client transactions. Additionally, Wanap has sealed a deal to offer Mastercard credit cards and process transactions through First Data systems.