Lucio Tan’s PNB, 8 others slug it out for last digital bank license, BSP may reopen application window after a year
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Lucio Tan’s PNB, 8 others slug it out for last digital bank license, BSP may reopen application window after a year

Nine entities are competing for the last digital banking license to be issued by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Speaking before members of the Management Association of the Philippines, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said they received nine applications from new players and existing banks after the Monetary Board decided to cap the the number of digital banks to seven to ensure the quality of service and impact on the banking system.

To date, the BSP has approved the application of six digital banks including two incumbent banks. These include Overseas Filipino Bank (March 25), Tonik Digital Bank and Unobank (June 3), Union Digital Bank (July 15), Gokongweis’ GoTyme Bank (August 12) and PLDT’s Maya Bank (September 16).

Diokno said these nine applications are processed on a first come, first-served basis and assessed by the BSP for completeness and sufficiency against the documentary requirements and applicant bank’s compliance with the licensing criteria for the establishment of digital banks.

Only one digibank license remains to be contested by the nine aspirants and speculators are betting bilyonaryo Lucio Tan’s banking arm Philippine National Bank will get the final slot.

Diokno said the BSP would announce the successful applicant as soon as it complies with all the requirements.

The applicant has reportedly revised a detail on its proposed digital banking unit. The BSP is thoroughly reviewing the applicant’s new filing.

Meanwhile, Diokno said the BSP could reopen the window for digital bank license applications after a year should there be a need to increase the number of neobanks in the country.

“We can open it within a year or two years, or three years, depending on the evaluation (of the BSP),” Diokno said.

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