The Monetary Authority of Singapore has paved the way for Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) to launch a digital-only bank in the country by granting it ‘Significantly Rooted Foreign Bank’ (SRFB) privileges.

The receipt of the enhanced privileges will allow the British banking group to secure an additional full bank licence.

The new licence will allow the bank to set a new subsidiary through which it can operate new or alternative business models such as a digital-led bank, with ecosystem partners.

Standard Chartered now joins four other companies that were recently awarded the licence to operate a digital bank in the city-state by MAS.

Additionally, Standard Chartered recently signed the UK-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

As a result, the bank will be entitled to serve additional customer service locations, in addition to the 50 locations, it is entitled to as an SRFB.

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In a statement, Standard Chartered Singapore CEO Patrick Lee said: “We are excited about the opportunity to secure an additional full bank licence under the enhanced SRFB framework and are actively developing and exploring the best digital models for consumers in Singapore.”

Standard Chartered group CEO Bill Winters said: “Singapore is a core market for us, and it is a significant honour to be granted enhanced SRFB privileges.

“We have invested and grown in Singapore to be the global business and operations hub that we are today, and we look forward to playing our part in developing the country’s banking landscape.”

Launched in 2012, the SRFBs – as part of an overall package under the FTAs – were only awarded to qualifying full banks (QFBs) that are “significantly rooted” in their home country.

In August 2020, Standard Chartered Singapore was named as the first SRFB in the country.

The bank, similar to its digital bank ‘Mox’ in Hong Kong, previously said that it was considering setting up a digital banking unit in Singapore as well.