PLDT unit obtains digital bank license

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

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

PLDT’s Voyager Group includes Maya Bank and PayMaya, a digital financial services company.

Overseas Filipino Bank, Tonik Digital Bank, UNObank, Union Digital Bank, and GOtyme have all received digital banking licenses from the central bank so far.

The Monetary Board approved the closure of the window for the establishment of digital banks and the limitation of the number of licenses to seven on Aug. 19, according to Diokno.

The Monetary Board approved the closure of the application window for new digital banks, including converting banks, beginning August 31 this year, according to Memorandum 2021-046 issued by the central bank.

The STAR previously reported that nine companies had filed applications with the BSP for digital banking licenses before the deadline expired.

The BSP stated that applications with documentary deficiencies and/or non-compliance with the licensing criteria would be returned and the BSP would consider them closed.

In addition to limiting the number of players to seven, the central bank also imposed a three-year moratorium on the issuance of digital banking licenses and a seven-player limit.

The BSP will be able to track the performance and impact of digital banks on the banking system, as well as their contribution to the financial inclusion agenda, after the application window closes.

“We must ensure that the business environment continues to encourage healthy competition among banks, allowing them to provide innovative and competitive financial products and services to their customers,” Diokno previously stated.

The BSP’s moratorium on new digital banking licenses, according to Fitch Ratings in New York, gives existing banks more time to strengthen their digital platforms.

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

According to Fonacier, “the BSP expects digital banks to thrive alongside market incumbents, including other types of banks and fintechs alike, higher quality of service.”

Source: Philstar

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