The Philippines’ Central Bank has approved the issue of a digital banking licence to PayMaya, the financial arm of PLDT’s digital unit Voyager Innovations.
Branded as Maya Bank, the digital bank will be the vanguard of Voyager’s financial services offering as it seeks to accelerate financial inclusion in the country. The central bank has set a target of 70% of adults having access to digital payments by 2023, with 50% of retail payments to be made digitally.
Maya Bank’s primary focus will be the largely unbanked and underserved population of consumers and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). The firm boasts an end-to-end financial ecosystem with a widely used e-wallet, an extensive digital remittance network through Smart Padala, and the largest non-bank merchant payments processing business.
Manuel V. Pangilinan, Chairman of PLDT, Voyager and PayMaya, said: “The digital transformation of our country is at the top of the PLDT group’s agenda. Maya Bank will be a key vehicle in hastening digital adoption among Filipinos through inclusive financial services.”
Shailesh Baidwan, Voyager and PayMaya President, said that Maya Bank would “leapfrog the Philippine financial ecosystem by speedily developing and launching innovative digital banking services, especially for the underserved segments. With Maya Bank and PayMaya, we will provide a powerhouse suite of intuitive, transparent, and readily accessible digital financial services relevant to Filipinos, in support of the country's financial inclusion goals."
PayMaya's total registered users grew by more than 2.5x since the start of 2020 to 40 million as of end-August 2021, as Filipinos turned to digital and cashless technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic. The central bank has stated that it will grant seven banking licences, of which Maya Bank’s is the sixth.