Singapore May Allow Virtual Banks, Says MAS

Singapore May Allow Virtual Banks, Says MAS

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is studying whether to grant licenses to fintech firms to operate digital-only banks.

This move comes as regulators in other Asian markets have started to issue virtual banking licences. Earlier this year, Hong Kong issued these licenses to four firms.

“Technology and other non-bank firms have been making large digital strides, and they have brought substantive value to their customers in doing so. Some of these non-bank firms have established digital-only banks, either amongst themselves or in partnership with incumbent banks,” MAS has said to Reuters.

DBS Group Holdings chief executive officer Piyush Gupta said in an interview with Bloomberg that he did not see a reason why Singapore authorities would not issue these licenses.

However, he downplayed the impact of these newcomers on existing banks in Singapore, saying that he’d only see a problem if virtual banks were allowed to operate on more lenient terms than the incumbents.

[Sources: 1, 2]

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