A consortium led by V3 Group, EZ-Link, and some finance professionals announced that it has applied for a digital full bank license in Singapore.
The group, called Beyond, also includes leading property developer Far East Organization, Singapore Business Federation (SBF), Japanese insurance company Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, and Temasek-owned Heliconia Capital Management.
Beyond said that it intends to promote connectivity and support local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in extending their footprint in Asia.
“We have developed a suite of innovative products and services to cater to the needs of digital natives, the gig economy, the silver generation, and SMEs operating in different industries,” Gan Chee Yen, chairman-designate of the Beyond consortium, said.
SBF and V3 Fintech, the digital financial services unit of V3 Group, also announced earlier the establishment of Beyond Lab, a regional digital academy focused on enabling SMEs to adopt digital technology. Key focus areas include data analytics to support green solutions and fintech innovations. The lab will also support the upskilling of SME owners and their workforce.
V3, owned by Singaporean entrepreneur Ron Sim, operates lifestyle brands such as Osim and TWG Tea.
According to a statement, 70% of Singaporeans work in SMEs, which contribute to a significant portion of the country’s gross domestic product and represent a major driver of future growth.
“Though SMEs play a significant role in the economy, some SMEs, especially smaller enterprises and startups, tend to face more difficulty managing their financing and securing funding from traditional banks. We are encouraged to see the active interest by many companies to establish digital banks in Singapore, as they will improve access to financing for our SMEs,” said Ho Meng Kit, CEO of SBF.
The Singaporean government announced in 2019 that it would issue up to two digital full bank licenses and three digital wholesale bank licenses to allow entities to conduct digital banking businesses in the city-state.
Apart from the Beyond consortium, a Grab and Singtel-led group and Razer Fintech have also applied for the digital full bank license. Meanwhile, Ant Financial has applied for the digital wholesale bank license, with TikTok owner Bytedance is reportedly applying for the same.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore is expected to announce the results by mid-2020.
This article first appeared on Tech in Asia.