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Business

PLDT unit secures digital bank license

Lawrence Agcaoili - The Philippine Star
PLDT unit secures digital bank license
“Confirmed,” BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno replied when asked if the Monetary Board approved the application of Maya Bank to operate as a digital bank.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has approved the digital bank license application of an affiliate of PLDT’s Voyager Innovations Inc., bringing to six the number of entities allowed to operate under the new banking classification.

“Confirmed,” BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno replied when asked if the Monetary Board approved the application of Maya Bank to operate as a digital bank.

Maya Bank and digital financial services company PayMaya are part of PLDT’s Voyager Group.

To date, the central bank has granted digital banking licenses to Overseas Filipino Bank, Tonik Digital Bank, UNObank, Union Digital Bank and GOtyme.

Last Aug. 19, Diokno said that  the Monetary Board approved the closure of window for establishment of digital banks and limiting the number of licenses to seven.

The central bank issued Memorandum 2021-046 wherein the Monetary Board approved the closure of application window for new digital banks, including converting banks, starting Aug. 31 this year.

Prior to the lapse of the deadline, The STAR earlier reported that   nine companies have filed applications with the BSP for digital banking licenses.

The BSP said the submitted applications with documentary deficiencies and/or non-compliance with the licensing criteria would be returned and considered closed by the BSP.

Aside from limiting the number of players to seven, the central bank also imposed a three-year moratorium on the grant of digital banking licenses as well as limiting the number of players at seven.

The closure of the application window allows the BSP to monitor the performance and impact of digital banks on the banking system and their contribution to the financial inclusion agenda.

“We need to ensure that the business environment continues to allow healthy competition among banks enabling them to offer innovative and competitive financial products and services to their clients,” Diokno earlier said.

New York-based Fitch Ratings said the moratorium imposed by the BSP on the grant of new digital banking licenses gives existing banks more time to strengthen their digital platforms.

BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier said incumbent banks are expected to respond to the new competitive landscape, offering consumers with improved electronic banking services and customized financial solutions as new digital banks fuel innovation.

“The BSP expects digital banks to flourish alongside market incumbents, including other types of banks and fintechs alike, higher quality of service,” Fonacier said.

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