Singapore to further open banking sector

June 18, 2004 at 2:56 AM

SINGAPORE, June 18 (UPI) -- Singapore has announced plans to further open its domestic banking sector to foreign competition.

Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Thursday that six foreign banks, which hold full banking privileges in Singapore, will be allowed from next January to operate up to 25 branches or offsite automated teller machines, up from the current 15.

In addition, more foreign banks will be allowed to apply for a wholesale banking license, which allows limited operations in lending and accepting deposits. Currently, 37 foreign banks have such a license.

"Singapore now has one of the most liberal banking environments in Asia. However, over time, as the industry changes, we must liberalize further. The Monetary Authority of Singapore will reassess the environment before deciding on any further measures," Lee said.

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