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Singapore central bank receives 21 applications for digital bank licences

Singapore's central bank received 21 applications for digital bank licences as of the close of application on Dec. 31, 2019.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore said it received seven applications for the digital full bank licences and 14 applications for the digital wholesale bank licences, according to a Jan. 7 release.

In June 2019, the central bank revealed plans to issue up to five new digital bank licenses, offering up to two digital full bank licenses and up to three digital wholesale bank licenses.

The central bank did not disclose the list of applicants. However, Singapore-based ride-sharing company Grab Holdings Inc. and telecommunications provider Singtel had partnered to apply for a digital full-banking licence, while Beijing Byte Dance Telecommunications Co. Ltd., owner of video app TikTok, and a group led by gaming hardware manufacturer Razer Inc. had also applied for a digital bank licence.

Ant Financial Services Group and an iFAST Corporation Ltd.-led consortium are also in the race to secure a license. In addition, NYSE-listed online marketplace Sea Ltd. said Jan. 7 that it applied for a digital full bank license.

Meanwhile, a consortium comprising Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. Ltd., Validus Capital Pte. Ltd., Keppel Corporation Ltd. and Vertex Ventures had dropped out of the race for a digital wholesale banking license in December 2019.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore will announce the successful applicants in June and they are expected to commence operations by mid-2021.