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Finance

Singapore virtual banks to service Asia's unbanked millions

Low-cost digital players offer loans to region's small and medium companies

People walk past office buildings at the central business district in Singapore. The city-state is opening the way for five new digital banks.   © Reuters

SINGAPORE -- Low-cost digital banks in Singapore are set to capture up to 2% of the country's domestic banking sector worth about $24.3 billion, according to an estimate by Moody's Investors Service.

Not required to open physical branches, the new breed of virtual banks are also expected to shake up the market for unsecured loans, and use Singapore as a platform to target Southeast Asia's small- and medium-sized enterprises as well as the region's 250 million unbanked adults.

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