NEXT Bank, a digital wholesale bank incorporated in Singapore and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ant Group, announced its soft launch today. The soft launch follows its receipt of MAS’ approval to commence business on 2 June 2022. The Singapore-based digital bank will focus 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.
Commenting on the soft launch, Ms. Toh Su Mei, the Chief Executive Officer of ANEXT Bank and a banking industry veteran of over 20 years, said: “We believe it’s time to offer the next generation of financial services that are accessible and effortless for growing businesses. Amid rapid acceleration in the digital economy, business models are changing and pivoting to become digital-first, if not adopting a hybrid model. Financial services have to evolve and be where SMEs are doing their businesses digitally.”
“We are well-positioned to live up to this vision, leveraging Ant Group’s deep bench of technologies and know-how, along with our customer-obsessed local team dedicated to serving the SME community. Adopting an open and collaborative approach, we believe in joining hands with industry partners and the public sector to provide SMEs with financial services that are simpler, safer, and more rewarding,” she added.
The Bank’s soft launch was graced by the Chief Fintech Officer at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Mr. Sopnendu Mohanty. Mr. Mohanty said: “This marks yet another milestone in Singapore’s digital bank development journey, a strategic effort to ensure the banking sector remains progressive, globally competitive, and vibrant. Continuous innovation and new capabilities that digital banks are slated to bring will no doubt add more engines of growth to Singapore’s financial sector. MAS expects the digital banks to thrive and synergize with our dynamic financial institutions and raise the bar in delivering quality financial services and uplift Singapore’s financial sector to better support the growth of SMEs in Singapore, the region, and in emerging markets.”
NEXT Bank also signed a 2-year MoU with Proxtera – the entity supported by MAS, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), and private sector entities, to transform and enable holistic cross-border trade among SMEs and businesses by making marketplaces efficient and discoverable globally, by embedded financing, fulfillment services, and SME empowerment.
The MoU will see both organizations 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. NEXT 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.
Speaking of the collaboration, Mr. Saurav Bhattacharyya, the Chief Executive Officer of Proxtera said: “Proxtera’s commitment is to simplify global trade for SMEs and uplift them with the power of networks, leveraging on modern technology to improve discoverability, accessibility, availability, and affordability of innovative digital services. Seamless access and availability of trade financing solutions will help amplify business growth and accelerate expansion for SMEs. This mission is closely aligned with ANEXT Bank’s focus to serve SMEs engaging in cross-border operations. Together with ANEXT Bank’s digital-born identity and digital-first capabilities and services, I’m confident that we can make trade easier, more seamless, and efficient for SMEs.”
As part of its soft launch, ANEXT Bank provided a preview of the ANEXT Business Account, 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. The Bank is also calling on SMEs to share their thoughts on what they hope to see in financial services – it recognizes in order to bring about what’s next in financial services, it starts with the needs of SMEs.