The Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus has said that the central bank will be announcing the recipients of digital bank licence next month. Their names will be revealed when BNM publish its Annual Report for 2021 which is expected to place on 30 March.
BNM has announced back in July 2021 that it has received 29 applications for the licence after a 6-month submission window. Aside from banks, e-commerce, and FinTech outfits, the applications also came from non-financial companies and organisations such as technology firms, cooperatives, and state governments.
However, BNM did not reveal the name of the 29 applicants at that time. That being said, some of them have publicly disclosed themselves as an applicant including AEON Credit, Axiata – RHB, BigPay, Grab – Singtel, and Star Media Group.
As per previous announcement, Shamsiah pointed out that BNM will only issue up to five digital bank licences at the moment. Nevertheless, the central bank is hoping that the introduction of digital banks in Malaysia will help accelerate the digitalization of the incumbent banks.
While digital banks may offer services that are similar to conventional banks, they operate exclusively online through apps for phones, tablets, and PCs. Under BNM’s Licensing Framework for Digital Banks [pdf], it was specifically mentioned that digital banks are only allowed to establish physical premises for administrative purposes but not to provide services for their customers.