MANILA - PayMaya's digital bank, called Maya Bank, will launch in the first quarter of 2022 after securing its license from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in September, PLDT Inc said Thursday.
PayMaya is operated by PLDT's fintech arm Voyager Innovations.
"Through its strong affiliation with PLDT and Smart, Maya Bank will also promote a seamless digital banking experience among customers. Maya Bank will launch by the first quarter of 2022," PLDT said.
When asked if the digital bank would offer loans, PLDT chairman Manny Pangilinan said it would likely focus on important credit-worthy consumers such as customers of Meralco, Maynilad and its tollways group.
"Those are very important creditworthy customer base to start off with. We will have significant credit provision required moving forward," Pangilinan said.
PLDT said Maya Bank would leverage PayMaya's track record and user base which now has over 41 million registered users as of end of September.
Usage of the e-wallet surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, the telco said.
Expanding its digital ecosystem will help secure the future of the business, PLDT and Smart president and CEO Al Panlilio told reporters in a virtual briefing.
Panlilio said PayMaya and Maya Bank would also "drive financial inclusion" in the country.
Digital banks are financial institutions without physical branches and are focused on streamlining the process of opening accounts especially for the unbanked.
The BSP earlier approved 6 digital banking licenses in the first phase of the implementation of its digital banking framework.
Land Bank's OF Bank, Tonik Bank, Union Digital, Uno Bank and GoTyme have also secured digital banking licenses from the BSP before it closed the application stage last August.
When asked If PayMaya is eyeing a potential initial public offering (IPO) after rival GCash operator Mynt announced it achieved double unicorn status with a valuation of $2 billion, PayMaya president Shailesh Baidwan said they are also focused on growth.
Maya Bank “will add greater credibility and set us up for better valuation when we go outside potentially for an IPO,” Baidwan said.