Consortiums Led By Boost, Grab, Sea, Aeon, and KAF Awarded Malaysia’s Digital Bank Licenses

May 2022

Malaysia’s Central Bank, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has announced the five successful applicants for the digital bank licenses, in an effort to boost financial inclusion in the country.  BNM received 29 applications from companies and partnerships across different industries, with a mix of foreign and domestic applicants.

Under the Financial Services Act 2013 (FSA), the three successful winners are the consortium of Boost Holdings Sdn Bhd and RHB Bank Bhd, the consortium led by GXS Bank Pte Ltd (a digital banking group between Grab Holdings Inc and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd) and Kuok Brothers Sdn Bhd and the consortium led by Sea Ltd and YTL Digital Capital Sdn Bhd.

Under the Islamic Financial Services Act 2013 (IFSA), two partnerships that will receive the license are the consortium of AEON Financial Service Co Ltd, AEON Credit Service (M) Bhd, and MoneyLion Inc, and the consortium led by KAF Investment Bank Sdn Bhd.

Following the announcement, the winners will undergo a period of operational readiness that will be validated by BNM through an audit which may take between 12 to 24 months, before they can commence operations.  BNM Governor, Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus said that the central bank currently has no plans to issue any more licenses than the five announced.

Overall, three out of the five consortiums are majority-owned by Malaysians, namely Boost Holdings and RHB Bank, Sea and YTL Digital Capital, and KAF Investment Bank. The decision to award five licenses is based on several criteria such as the character and integrity of applicants, nature, and sufficiency of financial resources, soundness and feasibility of business and technology plans as well as ability to meaningfully address financial inclusion gaps.

(Sources: Bank Negara Malaysia; Bernama; The Edge Markets)

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