Grab-Singtel venture steps into Singapore's competitive bank sector
SINGAPORE, Aug 31 (Reuters) - GXS Bank, the digital bank joint venture of ride-hailing firm Grab Holdings (A6I.F) and Singapore Telecommunications (STEL.SI), launched Singapore's first digital bank on Wednesday for the retail market in the affluent city-state.
Nasdaq-listed Grab's rapidly expanding financial services have become a key part of its growth strategy as it seeks to offer banking, digital payments, financing, insurance, food delivery and wealth management services.
Grab and tech firm Sea secured "digital full bank" licences in December 2020, allowing the Singaporean companies to directly take deposits and offer services locally to retail as well as corporate customers.
"GXS is a homegrown bank on a mission to support the needs of entrepreneurs, gig economy workers and early-jobbers in our community," said GXS Singapore CEO Charles Wong.
GXS has a potential market of around 3 million customers in Singapore under the Grab and Singtel ecosystem, Wong said at the launch.
The tiny island already boasts many digital-savvy banks such as DBS Group Holdings (DBSM.SI) and OCBC (OCBC.SI) but Grab aims to appeal to the gig workers who form the mainstay of Grab's businesses.
Chin's Ant Group and a consortium comprising Greenland Financial Holdings and others received digital wholesale banking licences, enabling them to serve large clients such as financial institutions and corporates.
GXS and Sea are also expanding in other Southeast Asian countries.
A GXS-led consortium in April obtained a digital banking licence in Malaysia, three months after Grab Holdings and Singapore Telecommunications bought a 16.3% stake each in PT Bank Fama International to pursue banking opportunities in Indonesia. (https://reut.rs/3TF03l0)
GXS Savings Account will be available in Apple's app store and Google Play Store from Sept. 5, and will be rolled out progressively — beginning with selected employees and under-banked customers under GXS, Grab and Singtel, it said.
GXS's will offer daily interest deposits of up to 1.58% per annum and will have no requirement for minimum deposits, Wong said.
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