First digital bank granted approval in the Philippines

By Oliver Smith on 10th January 2020

Challenger Banks

The island nation will see Tonik Bank launch in the coming months.

First digital bank granted approval in the Philippines
Image source: Tonik Bank.

The Central Bank of the Philippines (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) has approved the first digital bank looking to launch in the island nation.

Tonik Digital Bank, part of Singapore’s Tonik Financial, plans to launch in the coming months after being given the green light by the regulator.

“Digital-only banks globally have successfully demonstrated their ability to take massive market share by launching hyper-compelling consumer propositions, while also operating at disruptively low unit costs,” said Tonik CEO and Founder Greg Krasnov.

“We believe that the regulator’s confidence in us serves as the testament to the unique strength and track record of our team and the attractiveness of our product philosophy.”

Emerging markets have proved themselves to be fertile ground for digital banking, demonstrated clearly by the hyper-growth of Brazil’s Nubank.

Tonik says the Philippines is home to a $140bn retail deposits market and a $100bn unsecured consumer lending market, while 70% of the population remains unbanked.

The challenger is planning on launching in the early months of 2020, with an initial focus on retail deposit accounts and consumer loans.

“We have always welcomed players who offer reliable and inclusive financial services through innovative solutions,” said Chuchi Fonacier, Deputy Governor in charge of Financial Supervision Sector at Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

“Thus, it is with great optimism that we welcome Tonik Bank in the Philippines and we look forward to exciting digitally-centered products and services and committed efficiencies that will benefit every Filipino.”

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