Singapore Fintech Ditches Plans for Digital Bank License

Singapore cross-border startup InstaReM has withdrawn from the contest for a digital wholesale banking license, preferring to focus on its global business-to-business payments instead. It is the first firm to declare its withdrawal.

InstaReM, which recently rebranded to Nium, has backed down from its application for a digital wholesale license because the banking landscape in the city-state looks rather crowded.

Singaporean banks are extremely well entrenched in that ecosystem. Our strengths lie elsewhere and we have decided to consolidate and focus on those areas,» said Nium’s chief executive Prajit Nanu, who was quoted in «The Business Times.»

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Nanu said his company will focus on serving businesses in more than 40 markets. It holds regulatory licenses including in the European Union, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Japan and is seeking new electronic money institution licenses for card issuing and stored value facilities in Mexico and Brazil. With $41 million raised earlier this year, it is one of the best-funded fintech startups in South-east Asia.

Backed by investors including Temasek Holdings unit Vertex Ventures and Rocket Internet, Nium previously said it was interested in the digital bank license offered. Other companies that expressed a desire to apply included SingTel, Grab and Razer.

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