Singapore receives 21 applications for digital bank licenses

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SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore has received 21 applications for digital bank licenses, comprising 7 applications for retail licenses and the balance for wholesale bank licenses, the island state’s central bank said in a statement on Tuesday.

Singapore’s biggest liberalization of its banking sector in two decades seeks to enable online-only banks that can operate at lower costs and offer services that differ from incumbents, including DBS Group (SI:) and OCBC (SI:).

The central bank said the digital bank application process had attracted strong interest from a diverse group of companies.

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

Alibaba Group (N:) affiliate Ant Financial, a venture of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (SI:) and Southeast Asian ride hailing firm Grab, and many Singapore firms are among the applicants for the licenses.

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