BNM receives 29 digital banking applications
by ASILA JALIL
Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) received 29 applications for the digital banking license during the six-month application period that ended on Wednesday.
The central bank said various parties, including those from state governments, have applied for the license to be issued to five operators.
âBank Negara Malaysia today announced that it has received 29 digital banking license applications under the Financial Services Act of 2013 and the Islamic Financial Services Act of 2013, after a period of six-month application period, which ended on June 30, 2021.
âA wide range of parties have submitted digital banking license applications, ranging from banks, industrial conglomerates, tech companies, e-commerce operators, FinTech players, cooperatives and state governments,â he said recently BNM in a press release.
He added that successful applicants who meet all prudential criteria are expected to contribute to greater financial inclusion by offering products and services to fill market gaps in underserved and unserved segments.
Among the initiatives that the bank expects from digital banks, we can cite the promotion of suitable and affordable financial solutions based on an innovative application of technology.
âUp to five licenses can be issued and notification of accepted applications will be made during the first quarter of 2022,â BNM said.
Notable groups that have applied for the license include Axiata Group Bhd and RHB Banking Group Bhd. Axiata’s subsidiary Boost Holdings Sdn Bhd and RHB signed a global agreement last month to form a consortium for the demand.
The parties have said that Boost Holdings will own a controlling 60% stake while RHB will own the remaining 40% in the digital bank.
According to reports, the real estate-medical conglomerate Sunway Bhd had partnered with Chinese fintech company Linklogis Inc and Bangkok Bank PLC to apply for the license.
Sunway had recently acquired a 51% stake in Credit Bureau Malaysia, which the group said would enable it to achieve its goal of creating a fintech ecosystem and obtaining a digital banking license.
AEON Credit Service (M) Sdn Bhd and AEON Financial Service Co Ltd (AFS) are also the license applicants as they have submitted a joint application to the central bank to operate a digital bank in the country.
In a stock exchange filing, they said AEON Credit will own a 40% stake in the company while AEON Financial Service holds the remaining 60%.
Paramount Corp Bhd has submitted a license application to the central bank as the lead applicant for a consortium that also includes Star Media Group Bhd, Prosper Palm Oil Mill Sdn Bhd, RCE Capital Bhd and a technology partner.
BigPay, the electronic wallet unit of AirAsia Group Bhd, participated in the digital banking offering with Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd (MIDF) and Ikhlas Capital Master Fund Pte Ltd.
BigPay CEO and co-founder Salim Dhanani said the license would allow the group to provide accessible financial services to individuals and micro-small and medium-sized businesses with transparent fees.