BSP to stop accepting digital bank applications starting Aug. 31

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​The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has decided to close the window for the submission of applications from new digital banks, including converting banks, starting Aug. 31​.

BSP governor Benjamin Diokno

However, a report by the Philippine News Agency quoted BSP governor Benjamin E. Diokno as saying that applications for digital banking licenses will resume after three years if warranted by the circumstances.

If the initial number of digital banks is enough to serve the domestic economy after the three-year monitoring period, Diokno said “there will be no additional digital banks in the future”.

“The closure of the application window will allow the BSP to monitor the performance and impact of digital banks on the banking system and their contribution to the financial inclusion agenda,” Diokno said.

“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,” Diokno added.

Digital bank applications that are received by the BSP until August 31 will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis and will be assessed for completeness and sufficiency of documentation, as well as compliance with the licensing criteria on the establishment of digital banks.  

Applicants that are able to submit the complete documentation on or before the said date will be processed by the BSP.

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 organizers will be informed that their applications will be deemed closed. After August 31, the BSP said it will no longer entertain nor accept new or returned applications.

To date, the BSP has already approved the application of five digital banks, including two incumbent banks which have converted their existing licenses to a digital bank license. These include UNObank, UnionDigital Bank, and GoTyme.  While Overseas Filipino Bank, a subsidiary of state-owned Landbank, and Tonik Bank are banks that converted their existing license to digital banks.

The BSP approval corresponds to the first of the three-stage licensing process. Meanwhile, the BSP is currently processing two other digital bank 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.

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