Range of measures taken as digital banks come into play

The MAS building in Shenton Way.
The MAS building in Shenton Way.PHOTO: ST FILE

We thank Mr Ramamurthy Mahesh Kumar and Mr Phua Kok Hee for their views (MAS needs to educate public on digital banks, Sept 9; and How will digital banks handle customer problems?, Sept 12).

We agree it is important that the public understands the differences between the new digital banks and existing banks in Singapore.

Most banks here have enhanced their digital service offerings to customers, alongside physical branches and ATMs.

The new digital banks will leverage their track records in successful technology-related businesses and incorporate innovative use of technology to serve customers and reach underserved segments of the market.

Digital banks will have to meet the same regulatory standards as existing banks. Deposits in digital full banks, which will serve both retail and non-retail customers, will be covered by Singapore's deposit insurance scheme. Customer due diligence is already being done digitally today by existing banks using MyInfo, a service provided by the Government that enables individuals to confirm their identity and share personal information digitally.

When it comes to handling customer inquiries or complaints, digital banks can do it through online channels.

They will also be allowed to operate one place of business, which can provide a face-to-face channel to interact with customers. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) expects all financial institutions - digital or otherwise - to deal with their customers in a fair and clear manner and handle customer feedback effectively and promptly.

To minimise risk to retail depositors, digital full banks are required to adopt a phased approach in scaling up their operations.

MAS will assess various factors, including how the digital bank manages its risks and resolves customer concerns, before allowing the bank to expand its operations.

Digital banks will spur further innovation in the banking industry and provide greater consumer choice.

To help Singaporeans learn about and benefit from the digitalisation of banking services, MAS has been working with stakeholders, including the media, to publicise the digital bank initiative.

We will consider additional avenues to broaden our outreach and look forward to receiving concrete suggestions on how to do this better.

Jerome Lee

Director (Corporate Communications)

Monetary Authority of Singapore

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2019, with the headline 'Range of measures taken as digital banks come into play'. Print Edition | Subscribe