UPDATE 2-Malaysia's Axiata, RHB Bank to jointly bid for digital bank licence - sources

(Adds RHB response)

SINGAPORE, May 31 (Reuters) - Malaysian telecoms firm Axiata Group Bhd has teamed up with RHB Bank Bhd to apply for a digital bank licence, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday.

The sources declined to be identified as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

Malaysia’s central bank has called for digital bank applications by June 30 and said it may issue up to five licences for online-only banks.

Across Asia, regulators are opening up banking for digital players, encouraged by a boom in mobile connectivity and the prospect of tech firms offering low-cost financial services. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for digital transactions.

Axiata declined to comment on the digital bank application with RHB but said in an email it would hold a news conference with the bank on Wednesday “on significant partnerships that will expand collaborations between both parties.”

RHB also declined to comment. (Reporting by Anshuman Daga in Singapore; Additional reporting by Liz Lee in Kuala Lumpur; Editing by Christian Schmollinger, Lincoln Feast and Jane Merriman)