FinTech Ant Group is introducing a new bank in Singapore after receiving approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

The financial institution, dubbed ANEXT Bank, was approved by MAS to start doing business on June 2 and is among Ant Group’s biggest overseas drives since its $37 billion initial public offering (IPO) was thwarted by regulators in China at the end of 2020.

Ant Group, controlled by billionaire Jack Ma, already had one of the first banking licenses issued by MAS, granting it permission to deliver financial services to big clients that would include financial institutions and corporations, Reuters reported. 

See also: ​​Grab, Sea and Ant Chosen to Receive Digital Banking Licenses in Singapore 

ANEXT is focused on serving small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), especially those that focus on cross-border payments.

Ant Group also signed a two-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Proxtera to develop an open framework for all participating financial institutions.

Proxtera is supported by MAS, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and private sector entities, to “transform and enable holistic cross-border trade among SMEs and businesses through making marketplaces efficient and discoverable globally, with embedded financing, fulfillment services and SME empowerment,” according to a press release.

Read more: FinTech Ant Group Hires for Singapore Digital Bank

“We believe it’s time to offer the next generation of financial services that are accessible and effortless for growing businesses. Amid rapid acceleration in the digital economy, business models are changing and pivoting to become digital-first, if not adopting a hybrid model. Financial services have to evolve and be where SMEs are doing their businesses digitally,” ANEXT Bank CEO Toh Su Mei said. 

She added that ANEXT will leverage Ant Group’s “deep bench of technologies and know-how,” and also collaborate with the industry and the public to offer SMEs financial services that are “simpler, safer, and more rewarding.”

Related: C2P Teams With Ant Group to Advance Digital Payments in Southeast Asia

MAS Chief FinTech Officer Sopnendu Mohanty said the new bank is “another milestone” in Singapore’s strategic campaign to ensure its banking industry is “progressive, globally competitive and vibrant.”

 

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