Grab and Singtel today confirmed their formation of a consortium to apply for a digital full bank license in Singapore. Accordingly, Grab will have a 60% stake in the consortium entity while Singtel will hold the remaining 40%.
In a joint press statement, Grab and Singtel said the digital bank will cater to the needs of digital-first consumers and SMEs, which cite the lack of access to credit as a key pain point.
Both Grab and Singtel are already notable names in the region. The collaboration is expected to strengthen and further embed banking and financial services into both Grab and Singtel’s respective ecosystem of services.
Reuben Lai, senior managing director at Grab Financial Group, said in a statement that this is a natural next step for Grab to build a customer-centric digital bank that will deliver a variety of banking and financial services that are accessible, transparent, and affordable.
Grab has expanded beyond its ride-hailing roots. Since first introducing the GrabPay wallet in 2016 and launching Grab Financial Group in 2018, it has built solutions in payments, rewards, lending, and insurance.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore announced in June that it will issue up to two digital full bank (DFB) licenses and three digital wholesale bank (DWB) licenses as part of Singapore’s push for further liberalization of its banking sector. About 40 companies are reportedly competing for these limited spots. The deadline is December 31.
Alibaba’s Ant Financial has reportedly also expressed interest in applying for a digital banking license in Singapore.