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Philippines greenlights 'digital banks' as pandemic drives demand

Central bank says branchless lenders will boost financial inclusion

The Philippines has decided to allow online-only banks in a bid to boost financial inclusion. (Source photos by Reuters and AP)

MANILA -- The Philippine central bank on Thursday said it will allow the establishment of online-only banks in a move aimed at further expanding digital financial services, which have grown explosively across Southeast Asia amid the pandemic.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, or BSP, created a new license category for "digital banks," defined as those that offer "financial products and services that are processed end-to-end through a digital platform and/or electronic channels with no physical branches."

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