Grab, which acquired Uber Technologies’ Southeast Asian business and now carries a valuation of $14 billion, is close to hiring a consultancy firm to advise it on the matter.
Wednesday 12, June 2019
(Bloomberg) –Singapore’s ride-sharing provider Grab is considering applying for a digital banking licence if Singapore’s banking regulator allows it.
Grab is one of the region’s biggest start-up successes in the last decade. Founded in 2012 in Malaysia, the Singapore-based ride-sharing company is now valued at $14 billion according to CB Insights, making it the most valuable privately held start-up outside China and the US.
The company has some financial offerings currently, including an app-based mobile payment platform that allows users to purchase anything from its transport services to food deliveries.
However, a move into actual banking would represent both a shift for the start-up and fresh competition for Singapore’s banking landscape that is dominated by three local lenders, DBS Group Holdings, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) and United Overseas Bank.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is expected to allow two to three licences to operate digital banks for companies that do not have an existing bank parent and may decide on the issue within months.