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Group led by V3 Group, EZ-Link joins race for digital bank licence

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Consortium led by V3 Group and EZ-Link aims to focus on SMEs

A consortium led by lifestyle business V3 Group and card and payment company EZ-Link is banking on its diverse experience, from massage chairs to MRT farecards, in its bid to start a digital bank.

Called Beyond, it is seeking a digital full bank licence, making it the third applicant to say it has submitted a bid.

It also comprises private property developer Far East Organization, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF), insurer Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance and Temasek subsidiary Heliconia.

The group said in a statement yesterday it wants to focus on the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which employ nearly 70 per cent of Singapore's workforce.

The consortium added that it will reach out to companies and individuals in various industries, such as real estate, construction, insurance and retail.

A digital full bank licence will allow Beyond to serve retail customers and extend loans to individuals as well as companies.

Its application was submitted before Dec 31 last year, the last day for companies to apply for the licence. The proposed bank will be headquartered here.


Beyond's announcement comes three days after gaming company Razer said it had, through a consortium that includes Sheng Siong Holdings and four other partners, applied for a digital full bank licence.

Telco Singtel and tech company Grab have also formed a consortium to bid for a licence.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore said last June that it would issue up to five new digital bank licences for both full and wholesale banks to players who may not have an established record in banking.

Mr Gan Chee Yen, chairman-designate of Beyond, said in a statement: "Our proposal represents the combined strengths of some of Singapore's most established companies...

"We have developed a suite of innovative products and services to cater to the needs of digital natives, the gig economy, the silver generation and SMEs operating in different industries."

Last year, SBF and V3 Fintech, the financial technology arm of lifestyle products group V3, set up a regional digital academy called Beyond Lab. It helps SMEs here get digital technology to increase operational efficiency and competitiveness, focusing on areas such as data analytics to support green solutions and fintech innovations.

Mr Ho Meng Kit, chief executive officer of SBF, said that although SMEs play a significant role in the economy, some of them, specially smaller enterprises and start-ups, tend to face more difficulty in managing their financing and securing funding from traditional banks.

"There are significant gaps in the SME financing landscape that Beyond can address," he added.