Home Banking & Finance Gokongwei-Tyme partnership secures online bank license from Bangko Sentral

Gokongwei-Tyme partnership secures online bank license from Bangko Sentral

THE BANGKO SENTRAL ng Pilipinas (BSP) has given the country’s fifth digital banking license to a partnership between the Gokongwei Group and Singapore-based Tyme to be called GOtyme.

The Gokongwei Group and Tyme said in a joint statement on Monday evening that the BSP approved their application to operate a digital bank.

GOtyme is expected to start operating in the second quarter of 2022. It will allow users to register both through an app and digital kiosks that will be set up throughout the malls and retail footprint of the Gokongwei Group, which also owns local lender Robinsons Bank Corp.

JG Digital Equity Ventures, Inc. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Elmer “Jojo” M. Malolos will serve as the president and CEO of GOtyme. Meanwhile, Nathaniel Clarke, one of the founding team members of Tyme, will be the digital bank’s co-CEO.

“GOtyme will leverage the Gokongwei Group’s extensive ecosystem that is highly integrated into the daily lives of Filipinos — where they already shop, eat and spend family time. This distribution strategy will assist in the democratization of financial services, addressing the needs of all Filipinos regardless of age, income, or geography,” Mr. Malolos said.

“In South Africa, three million of our 3.5 million customers joined TymeBank through our digital kiosks deployed in retail environments. We believe the combination of this technology and the Gokongwei Group’s nationwide retail footprint provides GOtyme a clear path to rapid growth,” Mr. Clarke added.

“We see our model of digital banking, with on-boarding and education in retail networks and a well-designed app for transacting, as the best way to provide greater financial empowerment to our customers,” JG Summit Holdings, Inc. President and CEO Lance Y. Gokongwei said.

The approval of GOtyme’s application brings the number of the digital banking licenses granted under the central bank’s new framework to five. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) earlier gave online bank licenses to state-owned Overseas Filipino Bank, Tonik Digital Bank, Inc. (Philippines), UNOBank, and UnionBank of the Philippines, Inc.

The Monetary Board earlier said it will grant up to five licenses under the digital banking framework released last year. However, BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno has said they are open to granting more if they see strong demand.

BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier last week said there were three applications still pending with the central bank, including the Gokongwei-Tyme partnership.

“The BSP will make it known soon its policy direction as to the number of digital bank licenses,” Ms. Fonacier said on Tuesday. “BSP will be issuing within the day regarding the deadline for submitting application for a digital bank license.”

The BSP’s digital banking framework set online lenders apart from traditional ones such as commercial, thrift, rural, and Islamic banks as they offer their services mainly through digital platforms instead of brick-and-mortar branches.

Digital lenders are expected to help the central bank reach its target to bring 70% of adult Filipinos into the formal financial system and to have 50% of the volume and value of transactions in the country done online by 2023.

JG Summit booked a P814.51-million net income in the second quarter, supported by the improved revenues of most of its subsidiaries. This was a turnaround from the P2.62-billion loss it incurred a year ago.

For the first six months of the year, JG Summit’s net profit reached P936.69 million, recovering from the P720.25-million loss it booked in the January to June 2020 period.

Its shares closed at P59 apiece on Tuesday, up by P1 or 1.72% from the previous finish. — L.W.T. Noble