Malaysia's Sunway to apply for digital banking licence

KUALA LUMPUR, June 17 (Reuters) - Malaysian conglomerate Sunway Bhd on Thursday said it plans to apply for an online-only banking licence with undisclosed partners to expand in the financial technology (fintech) sector.

The group, in an email to Reuters, said it aims to build a fintech ecosystem for individuals as well as for micro, small and mid-sized enterprises, and that it will reveal its consortium partners in due course.

Bloomberg first reported Sunway’s licence plan on Wednesday.

The owner of property, healthcare and education businesses will join what is shaping up to be a crowded field of hopefuls vying for just five licences, with applications due by June-end and final decisions from the central bank slated for next year.

Earlier this month, RHB Bank Bhd and telecommunications firm Axiata Group Bhd said they would jointly apply for a licence.

AirAsia Group Bhd, lender CIMB Group Holdings Bhd , gaming firm Razer Inc and technology group Grab are also considering applying, sources have told Reuters.

Sunway operates online remittance service Sunway Money and has a subsidiary that provides loans to business partners. It is also majority shareholder of credit-reporting firm Credit Bureau Malaysia.

“With our venture into digital banking, and leveraging our existing ecosystem, we aim to provide a comprehensive, seamless and easily accessible digital banking service,” it told Reuters. (Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Christopher Cushing)