Regulator Approves First Digital-Only Bank in the Philippines

Jan 2020

The Central Bank of the Philippines (BSP) has granted a banking license to TONIK Digital Bank (TONIK), the local subsidiary of Singapore-based fintech start-up, TONIK Financial Pte Ltd. The license will enable TONIK to provide a full range of retail digital banking services in the country. TONIK Financial is founded by Forum Capital, a Singapore-based fintech venture capital fund.

TONIK will focus on retail financial products, particularly retail deposits, consumer loans, payments, cards, among others to serve the hugely underbanked population.

According to a press release from TONIK, the Philippines represents a USD 40 billion retail deposit market, and a USD 100 billion unsecured consumer lending opportunity. Over 70% of the adult population in the country remains unbanked. At the same time, the country’s citizens with an average age of 24, are digital natives. The Philippines ranks among world leaders in terms of daily internet and social media usage.

TONIK is expected to launch later in 2020 and has partnered with London-based financial software firm, Finastra, for using Finastra’s Fusion Essence Cloud platform to power its core banking capabilities. The cloud platform will be deployed from the Microsoft Azure South East Asia data center in Singapore. Support and R&D will be operated out of Singapore and Chennai, India. TONIK follows Dutch bank ING and Malaysia’s CIMB which are the current virtual banks in the country. The Philippine government is encouraging virtual banking as a means to improve financial inclusion.

(Sources: Dealstreet Asia; TONIK Financial Pte Ltd; The Business Times)

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