Bangko Sentral receives two applications for digital banking licenses

THE BANGKO SENTRAL ng Pilipinas (BSP) is processing two more applications for digital banking licenses, BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier said.

“Additional two applications have been received. Another partnership between local and foreign entities,” Ms. Fonacier said in a Viber message.

The BSP in January received an application for a digital banking license from a partnership between local and foreign entities. This came following the central bank’s issuance of its framework in November that differentiates an all-online lender from those with a largely brick-and-mortar presence such as commercial, thrift, rural, and Islamic banks.

“All three [applications] are currently in various stages of processing and progressing well,” Ms. Fonacier said.

The government-owned Overseas Filipino Bank obtained the first digital banking license from the Monetary Board in March. Ms. Fonacier earlier said the Monetary Board has set an initial limit of five digital banking licenses.

Digital banks are required to have a minimum capital of P1 billion and are expected to carry out their services mostly through online platforms in lieu of the branch transactions done with traditional lenders.

Foreign lender units such as CIMB Bank Philippines, Inc. and ING Bank N.V. Manila currently operate as all-online banks. East West Banking Corp.’s Komo and Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.’s Diskartech also offer similar services.

Tonik Digital Bank, Inc. (Philippines) also launched an all-online app last month focused on high-yield savings for retail consumers.

Last week, financial technology player SquidPay Technology, Inc. said it is looking to inject up to P900 million to buy 60% shares in Batangas-based Phil Star Development Bank to form a joint venture and seek a digital banking license. — L.W.T. Noble