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From Grab to Ant, Singapore's digital bank race picks up pace

Standard Chartered and other incumbents take lead in push for virtual lending

GXS' app looks more like a music-streaming service than a banking app. (Photo by Tsubasa Suruga) 

SINGAPORE -- Digital banking is accelerating in Singapore as deregulation encourages tech companies like Grab to enter the market in hopes of attracting younger customers and small businesses.

While this is expected to foster banking competition, retail virtual banks have yet to bring their operations fully online because of lingering regulatory restrictions. Meanwhile, incumbents like Standard Chartered are digitizing their services at an accelerating pace.

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