ANEXT Bank, a digital lender incorporated in Singapore and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ant Group, has announced its soft launch.

The announcement follows the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) approval to begin operations.

The digital bank will offer financial services to local and regional micro, small and medium enterprises, with a focus on those engaged in cross-border business.

Concurrently, ANEXT Bank signed an MoU with Proxtera to support cross-border trade among SMEs by making the marketplace more efficient and discoverable.

ANEXT Bank CEO Toh Su Mei said: “We believe it is time to offer the next generation of financial services that are accessible and effortless for growing businesses.

“Financial services have to evolve and be where SMEs are doing their businesses digitally.”

MAS chief fintech officer Sopnendu Mohanty said: “This marks yet another milestone in Singapore’s digital bank development journey, a strategic effort to ensure the banking sector remains progressive, globally competitive and vibrant.

“MAS expects the digital banks to thrive and synergise with our dynamic financial institutions and raise the bar in delivering quality financial services, and to uplift Singapore’s financial sector to better support the growth of SMEs in Singapore, the region and in emerging markets.”

Last week, Green Link Digital Bank (GLDB) opened its doors to customers in Singapore.

GLDB is backed by a Chinese developer and government-backed firm Greenland Holdings and Linklogis Hong Kong, which is a supply chain financing platform.

Like ANEXT Bank, GLDB also seeks to serve MSMEs through its banking and financial services.

GLDB chairman Geng Jing said: “The commencement of Green Link Digital Bank’s operations in Singapore symbolises a major milestone. It drives to strengthen the core pillars in digitalisation, technological empowerment and green finance.

“We aspire to be one of the key contributors towards digital economy advancements in Singapore and hope to play a significant role in cultivating an open digital finance ecosystem in Singapore.”