Axiata Group is partnering with RHB Bank to apply for a digital bank license from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), two knowledgeable sources reportedly told Reuters.
As mentioned before, BNM is currently accepting applications for a digital banking license, with a deadline set to 30 June. Accordingly, expect to see a lot of interested parties declare their intent before the end of this month. The granting of up to five licenses is set to be announced by the first quarter of 2022.
According to Reuters, Axiata declined to comment on the license application, but noted in email that it would be holding a press conference this Wednesday with RHB “on significant partnerships that will expand collaborations between both parties.”
RHB similarly declined comment.
Axiata is, of course, currently the parent company of Celcom. It also owns and operates the Boost e-wallet through its digital arm, Axiata Digital. So a move into digital banking certainly feels natural for the company.
But the field of competition is widening. Last week, Pertama Digital, a local investment holding company in the govtech and fintech spaces, announced it would be forming a consortium with Indonesia’s Crowdo to apply for a digital bank license.
And we’re going to see more applicants. Among those reportedly interested in obtaining a license are Grab, Razer, and AirAsia. So let’s see what they do.