​Licensing and Authorisation for Banking Business

Financial institutions (FIs) wishing to conduct banking business in Singapore must meet MAS' admission criteria and receive written authorisation from MAS to set up a wholesale bank or merchant bank in Singapore.

Admission Criteria

MAS takes the following factors into consideration when assessing an FI's application to conduct banking business:

  • Financial soundness, track record, world ranking and reputation of the FI, parent company and major shareholders.
  • Strength of home country supervision, including the willingness and ability of the home supervisory authority to cooperate with MAS, and its framework for cross-border cooperation.
  • Written consent from the home country supervisory authority for the establishment of a banking operation in Singapore.
  • Well-thought strategy for banking and financial services in Singapore, and sound business plans to ensure sustained economic viability.
  • Robust risk management systems and processes that are commensurate with the FI's size and proposed business

Before You Apply

Before submitting a formal application, you are encouraged to contact the Banking Department of MAS about your plans.

Discussing the licensing requirements at an early stage helps to identify issues that may affect the proposed application.

For details on the permitted activities of wholesale banks and merchant banks, refer to the types of deposit-taking institutions

For further enquiry or to make an appointment with the Banking Department of MAS, send an email to bd_registry@mas.gov.sg .

How to Apply

To apply for a licence or authorisation to conduct banking business, submit the Application to Set Up Wholesale Bank/Merchant Bank (127.8 KB). Refer to the form for detailed instructions.

Applicants should provide information as listed in the application form, including:

  • Background information.
  • Financial indicators of the FI on a global basis and credit ratings.
  • Overview of the FI's strategies in Singapore.
  • Detailed plans for each major business area of the Singapore office.
  • Information on the FI's home country banking system.
  • Documents required.

Refer to the application form for detailed instructions.

All applicants are also required to provide confirmation of payment of application fee (e.g. payment advice, bank statement transaction details) when submitting your application form.

How much is the application fee and how do I make payment?

All applicants are required to pay a non-refundable application fee of S$20,000. Please refer to Making Payments to MAS for available payment methods and the Reference Code to indicate in the reference field when making payments.

Processing Time

All applications will be processed promptly. The processing time typically takes about three to four months, assuming that all information has been submitted to MAS' satisfaction and that the application fee has been duly received by MAS. Actual processing time depends on the circumstances of each application.