The biggest consortium to apply for a digital banking licence so far includes EZ-Link, V3 Group, Singapore Business Federation and more

The consortium is focused on serving SMEs in Singapore, which employs close to 70 per cent of Singapore’s workforce.
Beyond Consortium

Things in the digibank race are heating up as yet another consortium has applied for a digital full-bank licence.

The consortium, called Beyond, is led by lifestyle and fintech firm V3 Group and card and payments company EZ-Link.

In a joint statement on Sunday (Jan 5), the companies said that the group also includes real estate company Far East Organisation, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF), Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance (MSIG) and Temasek-owned Heliconia Capital, making it the biggest digibank consortium so far with six members altogether.

The proposed digital bank will focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which employ close to 70 per cent of Singapore’s workforce, the companies said.

They added that the consortium will achieve this with an industry-specific approach, “through the use of behavioural economics and innovative processes”.

Gan Chee Yen, chairman-designate of Beyond, said that the joint proposal “represents the combined strengths of some of Singapore’s most established companies and their reach to SMEs and their workforce”.

“We have developed a suite of innovative products and services to cater to the needs of digital natives, the gig economy, the silver generation and SMEs operating in different industries,” he added.

To achieve this, SBF and V3 Group’s fintech-arm V3 Fintech set up a regional digital academy called Beyond Lab last December.

The lab will aid SMEs in acquiring digital technology to increase operational efficiency and competitiveness and is focused on areas such as data analytics to support green solutions and fintech innovations.

Ho Meng Kit, SBF’s chief executive officer, said that Beyond Lab, along with the consortium, will “help Singapore businesses to expand into new markets and embrace new business models and technologies”.

Ho added that Beyond will “enhance the services SBF can provide to its membership base of over 27,000, elevate their competitiveness and create better jobs for Singaporeans”.

According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), a digital full bank licence will allow Beyond to lend money to companies and serve retail customers, including taking deposits.

There are a total of five digital bank licences available in 2020 – two digital full-bank licences for retail banking, and three for wholesale banking.

Beyond is the third applicant to announce that it has submitted a bid for a digital full-bank licence.

Other applicants include a Grab and Singtel consortium and another led by gaming company Razer, which includes Sheng Shiong Holdings and four other partners.

Successful applications will be announced by mid-2020.

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