BSP gives new digital banks until end-August to submit applications

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 19) — New digital banks, including converting banks, have only until end-August to hand in their applications, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said.

In a statement on Thursday, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said closing the application window will allow the central bank to "monitor the performance and impact of digital banks on the banking system and their contribution to the financial inclusion agenda."

"We need to ensure that the business environment continues to allow healthy competition among banks enabling them to offer innovative and competitive financial products and services to their clients," he added.

The Monetary Board has so far approved the application of five digital banks. These include UNObank, UnionDigital Bank, and GoTyme. Meanwhile, Overseas Filipino Bank, Inc. and Tonik Bank converted their existing licenses to digital ones.

Applications of digital banks will be processed on a first-come, first served basis, the BSP said. They will also be assessed in terms of completeness and sufficiency of documentation along with compliance with the licensing criteria on establishing digital banks.

"The applications received on or before 31 August 2021 with noted documentary deficiencies or which do not meet the BSP's pre-qualification criteria will be returned and will not be subject to further processing," the central bank said.

The BSP also said it is currently processing two other digital banking applications.

"As these tech-savvy, customer-centric players introduce innovations in the banking sector, we are confident that the BSP is on track to achieving its digitalization and financial inclusion goals," Diokno said.

The government has been encouraging digital transactions amid the COVID-19 pandemic to further avoid physical interactions and reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission.