BNM targets to name digital banks in March


Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) is in the advanced stage of assessing the applications for digital banks and aims to announce the digital banks with the publication of its annual report at the end of March this year.

BNM governor Tan Sri Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus said the central bank has received 29 applications and as they intend to license a maximum of five, they need to thoroughly evaluate each and every single application.

“We want the digital banks to offer relevant products and services to the unserved and underserved segments, so that more people and entrepreneurs can better own assets and save for the future or to grow their businesses.

“We also expect the entry of these digital banks to accelerate the digitalisation of our incumbent banks. This will be good not just for the industry, but also for all of us here as customers of the incumbent banks,” she said at a virtual press conference after the release of the fourth quarter of 2021 gross domestic product results today.

In July 2021, BNM announced that it has received 29 applications for a digital bank licence under the Financial Services Act 2013 and the Islamic Financial Services Act 2013, following a six-month application period, which ended on June 30, 2021.

A diverse range of parties have submitted applications for the digital bank licence, ranging from banks, industry conglomerates, technology firms, e-commerce operators, FinTech players, cooperatives and state governments.