Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno said they are limiting the initial batch of digital banking players to five as the central bank has received four license applications so far.
In a virtual briefing Thursday, Diokno said they put a cap on the initial players because they want to observe first the operations of the initial batch.
“What we want to do is learn to walk first before running, so we want to get as much experience as possible before we consider more players in the market,” he said.
To date, BSP’s policy-making Monetary Board (MB) has approved the digital bank license of Overseas Filipino Bank (OFBank), a subsidiary of the state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) after the latter acquired the Philippine Postal Savings Bank (PPSB).
OFBank initially had a thrift banking license and started operations in June 2020 to cater to overseas Filipinos. It received its digital banking license from the BSP on March 25, 2021.
Diokno said the other applicants for digital banking license are two thrift banks that want to convert their license and a new player.
He said the applicants are given a year upon the approval of the MB of their applications to complete the requirements for digital banking operations.
Diokno said the existing banks are expected to start operations within the second half of this year while the new players, by 2022.
“For both new players and converting banks, the timeframe for application to commence their operations under a digital banking license depends on the readiness and full compliance with the existing operating license,” he added.