Standard Chartered Bank and NTUC Enterprise have partnered to form a digital bank known as SC Bank Solutions, in line with Singapore's efforts to digitalise the economy. SC Bank Solutions was granted a full banking licence by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) last December. It will be Standard Chartered's second separately licensed digital bank in Asia, the first being Mox Bank in Hong Kong.
Standard Chartered's Singapore operations will invest SG$144 million into the joint venture and own 60% of the new digital bank, while Beta Plus, a holding company controlled by NTUC Enterprise will invest SG$96 million and own the remaining 40%. To fulfill its digital banking ambitions in Singapore, Standard Chartered recently brought on board Kelvin Tan to lead the digital bank mandate as CMO. He was most recently FairPrice Group's director and head of consumer and marketing, retail business and has more than 15 years of full-spectrum marketing experience.
Amidst a fintech investment boom in Southeast Asia, MAS received a total of 21 applications for digital bank licences last year. This followed MAS' announcement in 2019 that it will issue up to two digital full bank licences and three digital wholesale bank licences; which will allow entities, including non-bank players, to conduct digital banking business in Singapore.
The Grab-Singtel consortium was selected by the MAS last December to set up a digital full bank in Singapore led by Charles Wong as CEO. Previously, the team said it aims to fill around 200 roles by the end of 2021, and the roles are in the areas of product, data, technology, risk, finance and compliance. The consortium is said to focus on serving consumers and small businesses, starting with time-starved young professionals, managers, executives and technicians, gig workers with flexible incomes, and micro-small medium enterprises that face limited access to financing.
At the same time, Sea Group as well as another consortium comprising Greenland Financial, Linklogis Hong Kong, and Beijing Co-operative Equity Investment Fund Management, as well as an entity wholly-owned by Ant Group was also granted a digital wholesale bank licence by MAS last year.
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