BSP grants UNOBank a digital bank license, first to receive license under Digital Banking License framework
A fintech headquartered in Singapore has been granted a license to operate a digital bank in the Philippines. UNObank aims to bridge the financial inclusion gap to help pave the way for all Filipinos to have access to basic financial services.
Singapore, Manila – Singapore headquartered fintech DigibankASIA Pte. Ltd., one of the primary incorporators of UNObank, has received approval from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to operate a digital bank in the Philippines.
The first fintech to receive a license outright to operate a digital bank, UNObank will be entirely regulated under the Digital Banking License framework in the Philippines.
DigibankASIA Pte. Ltd. is co-founded by three executives who collectively have extensive experience across banking, capital markets, treasury, lending, digitalization, and technology. UNObank will be helmed by Manish Bhai as CEO, a career banker, and a tech entrepreneur.
Co-founder Kalidas Ghose is a recognized fintech influencer who led the effort to build FE Credit in Vietnam from scratch and created VP Banks’ digital bank ecosystem.
Puneet Gupta, Co-founder & CTO is an acclaimed deep tech innovator known for building cutting-edge digital products and platforms.
With UNObank, the founders aim to help bridge the financial inclusion gap(3) in the Philippines and eventually Southeast and South Asia.
UNO means ‘one’ and sets the premise for a digital bank that offers one app and one card to enable anyone anywhere in the Philippines to save, borrow, transact, invest, and protect their finances easily, with speed and ease.
UNObank is being built on a robust technology stack that includes products and services from highly regarded tech industry leaders including Mambu, Backbase, and AWS.
“The BSP’s vision and foresight to digitize the local banking industry is future-forward and apt, because ultimately it will help align the Philippines as a modern banking center for the region,” says Manish Bhai, of UNOBank. “We are very grateful to the BSP and honoured by the trust placed in our team.”
UNObank is currently being built under a fintech holding company, DigibankASIA Pte. Ltd., in Singapore.
The co-founders are tapping Singapore’s vibrant fintech community for the latest in innovation and technological development in their quest to create UNObank as a robust, highly secure digital banking platform that has the flexibility to create unique customized solutions for the people that the bank serves.
UNO is working with world-leading modern technology firms including Mambu, Backbase, and AWS in building their technology stack.
The BSP has granted three digital bank licenses, two of which are conversions from previous bank licenses. UNObank is the first to receive the new license entirely under the Digital Banking License framework.
The Philippines has lagged in terms of financial inclusion. Access through digital banks can vastly increase the number of people in the Philippines that have access to borrowings, savings, payments, and other financial services.
The Philippines has among the lowest banking penetration in Southeast Asia, as the number of unbanked Filipino adults is estimated at 51.2 million, out of a total adult population of 72 million in 2019, according to the BSP’s 2019 Financial Inclusion Survey released in 2020.
“Long term, our goal is to bridge the gap to financial inclusion,” says co-founder Manish Bhai. “With UNObank, we are building the first full-spectrum digital bank to service those with unmet financial needs in Southeast and South Asia.”
“Singapore’s underlying ethos is that fintech should drive innovation, inclusion, and inspiration; to possess purpose to improve lives; and to build a dynamic economy and inclusive society. These are the tenets that UNObank embraces and strives to represent. That is why we chose Singapore as our group headquarters,” reiterates Bhai.
Puneet Gupta, the co-founder & CTO of UNObank comments: “As a fintech company, we are based in Singapore to tap the vibrant fintech community here for the latest in innovation and technological development.
We are in the midst of building a robust, highly secure digital banking platform for UNObank. We are ensuring that the technology we use has the flexibility to create unique customized solutions that will enhance the user experience and add immense value to those Filipino communities that are currently unserved and underserved.”
Bhai says, “UNO means ‘One’ and defines the philosophy behind UNObank – starting from the customer which means we stand at ONE with you, provide ONE interface to meet all your financial needs, ONE card for all your transactions, ONE minute to get your loan approved (provided criterion is met), and ONE experience unique to another!”