Singapore has officially started accepting applications for digital bank licences, nearly two months after it announced the programme.
Interested parties can submit their applications till 31 December 2019. The local financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has also published detailed guidelines and eligibility criteria for prospective applicants.
The regulator plans to announce the list of successful applicants in the middle of next year. The selected parties are expected to commence business by mid-2021.
The entry of new digital players in banking industry is expected to diversify the sector, which is largely dominated by a handful of lenders.
In June, MAS announced plans to issue up to five digital bank licences. The plan includes issuing up to two digital full bank licences and three digital wholesale bank licences.
The digital full banks will provide financial services to retail and non-retail customer segments, while the digital wholesale banks will cater to SMEs and other non-retail segments.
The application process is open to non-bank players. However, applicants for the digital full bank licence must be based in Singapore and operated by Singaporeans.
Each of the application will be assessed on the value proposition, company track record and ability to manage a digital banking business.
The growth prospects and potential contributions to the local economy will also be under consideration.