MAS Extends Digital Bank Assessment Period in view of COVID-19 Pandemic
Singapore, 9 April 2020… The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced today that it will extend the assessment period for the award of digital bank licences. Successful applicants will be informed in 2H 2020 instead of June 2020 as originally intended.
2 In January 2020, MAS released an update that it had received 21 applications for digital bank licences and planned to announce the successful applicants in June 2020. The global escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic since then has prompted the implementation of enhanced safe distancing measures in Singapore, and many companies are allowing staff to work from home to the extent possible.
3 In view of these developments, MAS will extend the assessment period for the award of digital bank licences. This will allow the digital bank licence applicants to dedicate their resources and attention towards managing the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their businesses. It will also enable MAS to focus resources on ensuring monetary and financial stability, and ensuring that financial institutions remain resilient, and able to perform their role in supporting businesses and individuals through this challenging time.
The issuance of the new digital bank licences, comprising up to two digital full bank (DFB) licences and three digital wholesale bank (DWB) licences, is a significant initiative aimed at enabling non-bank players with strong value propositions and innovative digital business models to offer banking services. DFBs will be allowed to take retail deposits, while DWBs will focus on serving SMEs and other non-retail segments.
These new digital banks are in addition to any qualifying subsidiaries that Singapore bank groups may already establish under MAS’ existing regulatory framework for the purposes of operating new business models, including partnerships with non-bank players to conduct digital banking.
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MAS said Singapore’s banking system remains sound and resilient amid heightened volatility in global financial markets following the recent closure of banks in the US. The Singapore Dollar money market and foreign exchange market continue to function well.