Grab’s GXBank Becomes First Digital Bank To Receive BNM Approval To Commence Operations
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Grab-led digital bank GXBank announced that it has received approval from the Minister of Finance and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to commence operations, ahead of the April 2024 deadline initially set by the central bank. This makes GXBank the first of five approved digital bank licence applicants to be ready to serve the Malaysian public in the near future.

In its statement, GXBank said that it has been granted the approval to begin operations from 1 September 2023, following the successful completion of an operational readiness review. Moving forward, it will leverage on technology and innovation to cater to the banking needs of the unserved and underserved communities, including a bank app and inclusive customer support (available 24/7 on multiple platforms).

GXBank noted that it will start by beta-testing its app with employees first, before launching it to a wider pool of users. This will allow the digital bank time to improve and refine the features on the app, allowing for a smoother and more enjoyable user experience. That said, GXBank has yet to share a concrete date as to when it will begin rolling out its app to the public.

“Standing on Grab’s legacy of innovative tech and economic inclusion, we hope to redefine banking and reshape Malaysia’s financial landscape. Our collaboration with consortium partners such as Kuok Group and other industry players will enable us to work hand in hand, leveraging our respective ecosystems to nurture a resilient and financially inclusive Malaysia, where no one is left behind,” said the chief executive officer of GXBank, Pei Si Lai.

Briefly, GXBank is a subsidiary of GXS Bank Pte Ltd (itself a joint venture between Grab and Singtel, which already holds a banking licence by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)), and a consortium of other Malaysian investors. This includes Kuok Brothers Sdn Bhd.

Meanwhile, Pei will be supported by a team of more than 200 employees, as well as a newly appointed board of directors that is spearheaded by Datuk Zaiton Mohd Hassan. Datuk Zaiton – who is experienced in banking, audit, risk management, as well as governance and financial inclusion – stressed that GXBank is committed in driving real change in Malaysia’s financial sector.

“We are at the forefront of the region’s fast evolving fintech landscape. With the collective strength of all our partners and digital banks in Singapore and Indonesia, GXBank is poised to offer equitable access to an innovative and transformational banking experience. We hope this will enable more Malaysians to be financially independent, creating a better future for themselves, their families, and the country,” said Datuk Zaiton.

Aside from the consortium led by GXS Bank and Kuok Brothers that successfully received a digital banking licence back in April 2022, the other four approved applicants are:

  • A consortium led by Boost Holdings Sdn Bhd and RHB Bank Berhad
  • A consortium led by Sea Limited and YTL Digital Capital Sdn Bhd
  • A consortium led by AEON Financial Services Co. Ltd, AEON Credit Service (M) Berhad, and MoneyLion Inc
  • A consortium led by KAF Investment Bank Sdn Bhd

As per BNM’s directive back then, these applicants are required to undergo a period of operational readiness that will be validated by BNM through an audit before they can commence operations. This entire process was expected to take between 12 months to 24 months.

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