Grab and Singtel have announced that Bank Negara Malaysia will grant their digital banking joint venture, GXS Bank, and a consortium of Malaysian investors, including Kuok Brothers, a full digital banking license, according to a Friday, April 29. Press release.
The digital banking joint venture will own a 55.45% stake in GXS Bank, which will be led by Pei Si Lai, a financial services industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience, the statement said. She will build a team that seeks to meet the needs of the estimated 50% of Malaysians who are underserved or unbanked.
The team is expected to number at least 200 people at launch, including employees responsible for product design, data, technology, risk and compliance, according to the statement.
The new digital bank should “enable micro-[SMBs] and other financially underserved segments such as gig economy workers to access a suite of financial services that will serve them throughout their life cycle,” the statement read.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up more than 97% of Malaysia’s business establishments, contribute around 38% of the national gross domestic product (GDP) and employ nearly half of the workforce, according to the statement.
“The opportunity to build Malaysia’s digital bank from the ground up and be at the forefront of the rapidly changing Malaysian fintech landscape is incredibly exciting,” Lai said in the statement. “In addition to leveraging agile banking technology that will enable us to deliver personalized and unique banking experiences to our consumers, my team and I will also leverage the strong support of our shareholders and strategic partners, as well as advice from Bank Negara Malaysia and the Ministry of Finance, to fulfill our mission to serve and empower underbanked Malaysian communities such as gig workers and small businesses.We will also actively partner with key industry players to advance the Malaysian financial landscape.”
In January, Grab and Singtel each bought 16.3% of Indonesian bank PT Bank Fama International to expand their offering in that country.
Read more: Singtel grab every snag 16.3% of PT Bank Fama in Indonesia