ANEXT Bank, a digital bank that is wholly-owned by Ant Group, is now in soft launch in Singapore.
The bank received approval to commence business from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on June 2 and went into soft launch several days later.
It focuses on “providing digital financial services to local and regional micro, small and medium enterprises, especially those engaging in cross-border operations for growth and global expansion.”
CEO Toh Su Mei said ANEXT Bank was able to use “Ant Group’s deep bench of technologies and know-how” in part to get off the ground.
“Amid rapid acceleration in the digital economy, business models are changing and pivoting to become digital-first, if not adopting a hybrid model,” she said.
“Financial services have to evolve and be where SMEs [small-to-medium enterprises] are doing their businesses digitally.”
As part of its soft launch, ANEXT Bank is previewing “a dual-currency deposit account with proprietary security measures including three-factor authentication verification as well as features such as remote onboarding and daily interest.”
It intends to start offering the account generally from the third quarter of this year.
ANEXT Bank also signed a two-year memorandum of understanding with Proxtera - an entity supported by MAS, the Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA) and private sector entities to power cross-border trade.
Under the agreement, ANEXT Bank and Proxtera will work to “jointly create and establish an open framework for all participating financial institutions as they provide financing and risk mitigation support for SMEs and platforms in global trades.”
In addition, “ANEXT Bank will also be Proxtera’s first participating digital wholesale bank in Singapore to lead the way in providing financing solutions to the buyers and sellers on Proxtera’s network,” it added.