Digital bank GOTyme eyes mid-2022 launch: Lance Gokongwei

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 24 2021 04:35 PM | Updated as of Sep 24 2021 07:29 PM

JG Summit Holdings President and CEO Lance Y. Gokongwei attends the inauguration of Robinsons Land Corp’s first township, Bridgetowne, on September 4, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File
JG Summit Holdings President and CEO Lance Y. Gokongwei attends the inauguration of Robinsons Land Corp’s first township, Bridgetowne, on September 4, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - JG Summit CEO Lance Gokongwei said Friday the group hopes to launch its digital bank GoTyme by the middle of next year.

GoTyme is the digital bank of the Gokongwei Group with its partner Tyme Bank of South Africa. 

The digital bank has earlier secured a license to operate from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas under its new digital banking framework. [DIGITAL BANKING FRAMEWORK https://news.abs-cbn.com/business/11/27/20/bsp-recognizes-digital-bank-as-new-bank-category]

"GoTyme was formed to assist the mandate of the BSP, to serve the unbanked," Gokongwei told ABS-CBN News in an exclusive interview following his one-on-one with BPI chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala for his online mini-series After Six.

"We hope to have the bank running with our partners who operate the leading digital bank in South Africa, by next year, by the middle of next year," he added.

The BSP earlier said it would grant 7 digital bank licenses before closing its doors to new applications by Aug. 31, 2021.

So far, the other digital bank license holders are Landbank's Overseas Filipino Bank (OF Bank), Tonik Bank, UnoBank, Union Digital Bank and the latest addition, PayMaya's Maya Bank.

GOTyme is likely to become a "competitive" digital bank, supported by the network of the entire Gokongwei group, the official said. The Gokongwei Group has interests in airlines, real estate, banking, food and energy, among others.

But Gokongwei said it's the Filipino people who would benefit the most from these financial innovations.

"I think when you have 7 players, ang mananalo dito ay 'yung consumers (it's the customers who will win). Essentially, this can only be beneficial to the Filipino nation kasi they have more choices," he said. 

Digital banks are financial institutions with no physical branches which also aim to simplify the on-boarding process in acquiring banking services thus improving financial inclusivity in the country. 

Digital transactions surged during the COVID-19 pandemic as Filipinos stuck at home sought ways to complete financial services. This provided a much-needed boost to the BSP's digitalization roadmap.

The central bank aims to digitalize 50 percent of payments and encourage 70 percent of the population to open bank accounts by 2023.

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