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Islamic Finance

Malaysian govtech Pertama applies for Islamic digital banking licence

The race for digital banking licences continues in Malaysia, with govtech company Pertama Digital saying it has submitted its application to the central bank.

“The Islamic digital bank envisaged by the Pertama Digital Berhad consortium places the financial unserved/underserved customers at its heart,” the company said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday (June 30), the final day for application to the central bank.

“The digital bank aims to sustainably provide affordable and ethical financing products, while handling the B40 and MSMEs to nurture good financial management, pouring rocket fuel into post-pandemic productivity,” Pertama Digital added.

B40 refers to the bottom 40% income earners.

The company that backs fintechs is working with banking solutions provider Infopro Sdn Bhd as a consortium partner, and will collaborate with a handful of start-ups to provide a range of products and services.

The start-ups include SME-focused neobank Crowdo, Trevo for the gig economy, advance wages solutions provider Paywatch, financial management edtech Butterfly FX, and insurtech and takafultech Qoala.

Pertama Digital on June 24 said it secured investment for its planned digital bank with Perfect Hexagon Commodity and Investment Bank, as well as Alsirat Sdn Bhd.

Bank Negara Malaysia, the central bank, may issue up to five licences for both conventional and Islamic digital banks by the first quarter of 2022. Pertama Digital joins others eyeing to open Islamic digital banks, including a consortium led by Green Packet Bhd, ZICO Holdings and M24 Tawreeq.

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