FINANCIAL technology firm PayMaya Philippines Inc. announced on Monday that it has obtained the approval of the Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to establish a digital bank.
The bank will be known as Maya Bank.
This approval is the sixth that the BSP has given out since the establishment of a digital bank framework in the country. In particular, the MB has given approval to UNObank, UnionDigital Bank, GoTyme, Overseas Filipino Bank Inc. and Tonik Bank.
PayMaya said the primary focus of the approval will largely be towards the unbanked and underserved population of consumers and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). The firm also said they intend to promote digital financial services among the youth, women, senior citizens, and other underbanked segments.
“The digital transformation of our country is at the top of the PLDT group’s agenda, and this development is a big step forward for Voyager and PayMaya. Maya Bank will be a key vehicle in hastening digital adoption among Filipinos through inclusive financial services,” PLDT, Voyager and PayMaya Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said. As a neo bank, the firm said it will provide mobile-first digital banking services on the back of PayMaya’s widely trusted e-wallet and proven technology platforms. It will also seek to maximize PayMaya’s Smart Padala agent network and leading merchant payments processing business to serve customers and grow the digital financial ecosystem.
“We are very excited to work with the BSP to leapfrog the Philippine financial ecosystem by speedily developing and launching innovative digital banking services, especially for the underserved segments. With Maya Bank and PayMaya, we will provide a powerhouse suite of intuitive, transparent, and readily accessible digital financial services relevant to Filipinos, in support of the country’s financial inclusion goals,” Voyager and PayMaya President Shailesh Baidwan said.
In June 2021, Voyager, which operates PayMaya, raised $167 million to accelerate the growth of PayMaya’s digital payments business and expand to new and inclusive products, such as credit, insurance, savings, and investments, through the soon-to-be-established digital bank.
Voyager counts PLDT Inc.; KKR, a global investment firm; Tencent, a leading technology company in China; and, World Bank’s IFC Asset Management Co. (IFC AMC) through its IFC Emerging Asia Fund and IFC Financial Growth Fund, among its shareholders.
The BSP announced earlier this year that it has closed their window for the application of new digital banks in the country starting September 1 this year.
The BSP said digital bank applications that are received by the BSP until August 31, 2021, will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis and will be assessed for completeness and sufficiency of documentation, information and compliance with the licensing criteria on the establishment of digital banks.
After August 31, the BSP no longer entertained nor accepted new or returned applications. “The closure of the application window will allow the BSP to monitor the performance and impact of digital banks on the banking system and their contribution to the financial inclusion agenda,” BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno earlier said.