Tyme raises US$110M Series B, targets digital banking license in the Philippines

Tyme, a Singapore-based digital banking network targeting emerging markets, announced today it has raised US$110 million in Series B capital from Apis Partners Growth Fund II and Gokongwei family-led JG Summit Holdings of the Philippines.

A portion of the new funds will be used by Tyme to launch a digital bank in the Philippines, as part of plans to expand into Southeast Asia by its parent company, South Africa-based TymeBank.

With the announcement of the new digital bank framework in the Philippines, JG Summit Holdings and Tyme will apply for a digital bank license from regulator Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to expand financial access for underbanked and under-served Filipinos. Tyme claims its “high tech – high touch” digital banking model would meet customer needs for “affordable and widespread” financial access.

“We see digital banking as the next growth area globally and increasingly in ASEAN. The investment not only propels the Gokongwei Group to accelerate its foray into disruptive digital plays but also allows us to learn more about TymeBank’s experiences that provide a good impetus for us in considering to apply their technology and success in the Philippines,” said Lance Gokongwei, President and CEO of JG Summit Holdings.

Also Read: McKinsey on Asia’s digital-only banks: ‘Consortia present challenges but they offer a path to scaling relatively quickly’

“With the Philippines progressively going into digital banking to bring about better financial inclusion for a greater majority of its population, this augurs well to help us successfully deliver on our purpose as a business,” he added.

Tyme’s foray into digital banking comes off the back of increased interest for licenses after BSP announced guidelines on the establishment of digital banks. In December 2020, BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier said the BSP has received five inquiries so far since it issued the guidelines on the establishment of digital banks.

The Philippines itself has been showing promises in the future of digital banking.

Last week, a report by UnaFinancial, a group of companies providing fintech services in eight markets in Asia and Europe, revealed the Philippines as one of the markets in the Asia Pacific with “huge potential neobank growth.”

The conclusion was made following an analysis that was based on two criteria: attractiveness for online banking and the levels of competitiveness within the segment. According to the report, as a Southeast Asian country, the Philippines holds “the same degree of market attractiveness” as India and Singapore.

Image Credit: Unsplash

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