13 September 2019

Monetary Authority of Singapore Invites Applications for New Digital Bank Licenses

On August 29, 2019, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced that it will begin accepting applications for new digital bank licenses. Interested parties have until December 31 to submit their applications. This follows the MAS’ initial announcement in June to issue up to two digital full bank (DFB) licenses and three digital wholesale bank (DWB) licenses, effectively opening up digital bank licenses to nonbank players.

The MAS has set out the details on the eligibility criteria and requirements for digital banks here, along with a set of FAQs, which is accessible here. The relevant application form can be found here. All applications must be emailed to Digital_Banks@mas.gov.sg.

This briefing provides a summary of the key eligibility and assessment criteria to qualify for a digital bank license.

Licencse Criteria
 

1.

 

Eligibility Criteria 

Applications for the DFB or DWB license must meet the following requirements:

  • At least one entity in the applicant group has three or more years’ track record in operating an existing business in the technology or e-commerce field.
  • Key persons are fit and proper.
  • Demonstrates ability to meet the applicable minimum paid-up capital requirement at the onset and the minimum capital funds requirement on an ongoing basis.
  • Provides clear value proposition, incorporating the innovative use of technology to serve customer needs and reach underserved segments of the Singapore market.
  • Demonstrates that the proposed digital bank’s business model is sustainable.
  • Submits a feasible plan that can facilitate the orderly exit of the proposed digital bank.
  • Shareholders of the proposed digital bank commit to providing a letter of responsibility and a letter of undertaking that the MAS may require in respect of the operations of the proposed digital bank.
  • For DFB licenses, MAS will only consider applicants who are anchored in Singapore, controlled by Singaporeans and headquartered in Singapore.
 

2.

 

Assessment Criteria

Eligible applicants will then be assessed for the following:

  • Value proposition of the applicant’s business model, incorporating the innovative use of technology to serve customer needs and reach underserved segments of the Singapore market that differentiates it from existing banks. MAS will also consider the applicant’s ability to implement the proposal.
  • Ability to manage a prudent and sustainable digital banking business, including the level of understanding of key risks in a banking business and strength of its regulatory compliance and risk management plans. MAS will also consider the reputation, track record, financial strength and commitment of the applicant’s shareholders.
  • Growth prospects and other contributions to Singapore’s financial centre, such as the jobs it will be bringing to Singapore, its commitment to develop the skills of the local workforce, the capabilities (including technology) it will be locating in Singapore, the headquarter functions it will be anchoring here, as well as its regional expansion plans.

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