Singapore digital bankcleared to operate in Philippines

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Singapore-based digital bank Tonik Financial Pte. Ltd. has secured a license from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to operate in the Philippines.

The license will enable Tonik, through its local unit Tonik Digital Bank Inc.,  to provide a full range of retail banking services, focused primarily on retail deposits and consumer loans, as the first digital-only branchless bank licensed platform in the Philippines, starting this year.

Tonik said  the Philippine banking sector is ripe for a digital disruption, and will follow the lead of other markets globally, where digital-only “neobanks” have rapidly captured millions of customers and attracted over $5 billion of investor funding in the last two years alone.

The Philippines represents a $140 billion retail deposit market, and a $100 billion unsecured consumer lending opportunity.  The digitally native Filipino clients, with an average age of 24, constitute the number one market globally in terms of daily internet and social media usage.  However, over 70 percent of the adult population remains unbanked, and market research indicates that over 50 percent of existing bank clients would be keen to switch their deposits to a pure-play digital contender. 

Tonik is led by its founder and CEO Greg Krasnov, who had previously co-founded four market leading fintech start-ups in the consumer finance space in Asia, as well as founded, built and successfully exited a significant consumer finance bank in Emerging Europe.

“Digital-only banks globally have successfully demonstrated their ability to take massive market share by launching hyper-compelling consumer propositions, while also operating at disruptively low unit costs, and thus generating outstanding returns on assets and equity.  We are honored to have been chosen by the regulator as a test partner in bringing these global best practices to the Philippines through the first digital-only bank license in the Philippines and indeed Southeast Asia.  We believe that the regulator’s confidence in us serves as the testament to the unique strength and track record of our team and the attractiveness of our product philosophy.  We look forward to bringing a new level of digital banking services to the Filipino clients,” Krasnov said.

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