FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Singapore

OCBC in talks with Singtel for virtual bank license: report

The bank may take a minority stake in the joint venture.

Bloomberg reports that OCBC is said to be in talks with companies including Singtel about seeking one of the city-state’s planned virtual bank licenses, according to people familiar with the matter.

Singapore’s second-largest bank would take a minority stake in any virtual-banking joint venture and sees it as a way to tap new customers and markets, the people said, requesting anonymity. 

OCBC’s discussions are preliminary ahead of more details on the conditions for the new license applications which the MAS is expected to issue later this month, the people said, adding that the eventual choice of partners may change depending on licensing conditions.

Also readVirtual banks pose threat to Singapore's small and foreign lenders

The Monetary Authority of Singapore is planning to issue as many as five new digital bank licenses to non-bank firms as part of efforts to strengthen competition in financial services. 

Of the big three domestic lenders, OCBC is the only one that doesn’t have a pure-play digital bank as DBS operates a digital bank in India and Indonesia, whilst United Overseas Bank Ltd. opened one in Thailand earlier this year.

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