Standard Chartered has reached a shareholders’ agreement with Singapore’s National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) to launch a digital bank in the city-state.

Under the agreement, the bank’s subsidiary SCBSL will form a joint venture with BetaPlus, a company controlled by NTUC Enterprise.

Called SC Bank Solutions, the venture will be 60% owned by SCBSL. Standard Chartered will invest $107.2m (S$144m) in the venture.

BetaPlus will own the balance 40% stake for an investment of S$96m.

SC Bank Solutions secured a full banking licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in December 2020.

The bank said: “Completion is subject to certain conditions precedent. However, the approval of the MAS for BetaPlus to acquire and hold up to 40% of the issued and paid up share capital of SC Bank Solutions has been granted.

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By GlobalData

“Completion will take place on the fifth business day following the notification of the fulfilment of the last of the conditions.”

Singapore is a key market for Standard Chartered, with Singapore’s state-owned investment arm Temasek being the bank’s biggest shareholder.

In 2013, Standard Chartered transferred its Singapore retail and SME operations to a locally incorporated subsidiary, SCBSL, and consolidated its business operations in Singapore under SCBSL in May 2019.

Last August, SCBSL received the “Significantly Rooted Foreign Bank” (SRFB) status from the MAS.

In December last year, it secured enhanced SRFB privileges.

“This joint venture will focus on providing digital banking services, in line with Singapore’s efforts to digitalise its economy,” the bank said.

This will be the bank’s second separately licensed digital bank in Asia of Standard Chartered, following Mox Bank in Hong Kong.

Customers can open a zero-balance bank account within minutes, for free, with Mox.