SINGAPORE: Singapore’s central bank has shortlisted 14 applicants for up to five digital bank licences on offer in the city’s biggest banking liberalisation in two decades.
The shortlist, out of the 21 applications received, comprises five digital full bank applicants and nine digital wholesale bank applicants who will now move to the next round of the selection process, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said on Thursday (Jun 18).
It expects to award the licences by the end of the year.
MAS did not provide names of the shortlisted applicants. It aims to issue up to two retail licences and three wholesale licences.
Applicants who had earlier said they will bid for the retail licences included: a venture of ride-hailer Grab and Singapore Telecommunications; Internet firm Sea; a group headed by gaming firm Razer; another led by consumer entrepreneur Ron Sim; and fintech firm MatchMove’s consortium with Singapura Finance.
The MAS said in a statement applicants will next be shortlisted based on criteria such as their value proposition and business model, their ability to manage a prudent and sustainable digital banking business, growth prospects and contribution to Singapore's financial centre.
It said it has asked the applicants to review the business plans and assumptions underpinning their financial projections, taking into account the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reuters had reported this month that the bidders would have to factor in how the outbreak has impacted their funding and profitability plans.
"MAS does not expect the request for updated business plans and financial projections to affect the timeline for award of the digital bank licences by the end of this year," it said.