40 parties keen to apply for digital banking licence — BNM governor

Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus

Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 11): About 40 parties have registered their interest to apply for a digital banking licence, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus said today.

The deadline to submit applications for the digital banking licence is June 30, she noted at a virtual press conference to announce the country's gross domestic product for the fourth quarter of 2020.

"In our policy paper, we mentioned digital banks are expected to introduce innovative applications of technology that can contribute to the financial well-being of Malaysians in particular to address the unmet needs of the underserved and unserved customer segments.

"We expect to announce the granting of the licences in the first quarter of next year and there will be five licences issued to qualified applicants," she said.

Nor Shamsiah said the growing momentum for digitalisation will further support economic activities, with more individuals and businesses now embracing digital solutions.

She noted the number of merchants that have signed up for e-commerce and QR code payments has more than doubled compared with in the previous year.

The governor added that BNM and other relevant agencies will continue to intensify efforts to catalyse nationwide digital transformation, accelerating the role of key system enablers, digitalising existing industries and developing new digital industries as future growth drivers of the economy.

On Dec 31 last year, the central bank issued its framework for the licensing of digital banks to conduct either conventional or Islamic banking business in Malaysia.

Several markets in the region have already doled out digital banking licences, with Hong Kong distributing eight such licences in 2019 and Singapore issuing four.

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S Kanagaraju