Arival Bank joins digital banking race in Singapore

via Tech in Asia

Singapore-based Arival Bank, a fintech bank for small and medium-sized enterprises and crypto businesses, has applied for a digital wholesale banking license in the city-state.

Arival was founded in 2017 as an internal venture spun out VC firm Life.Sreda. The company is led by CEO Vladislav Solodkiy, chief financial officer Igor Pesin, and chief operating officer Jeremy Berger, who are all part of the VC firm’s leadership team.

With its bid, Arival plans to focus on serving what it calls “abnormal” clients or higher-risk customers, who usually get turned down by more traditional banks, according to a Business Times report.

“The focus on ‘abnormal’ or underbanked SMEs gives us the opportunity to not compete with other digital or traditional banks, avoid spending money on advertising or customer acquisition, and allows us to focus on margins,” Berger told the Business Times.

The digital bank hopeful also said it plans to aggregate fintech products from third-party service providers and make them available on a single platform powered by open application programming interfaces. In addition, it looks to offer a banking-as-a-service platform that would help other fintech firms launch.

Berger noted that the company’s “compliance-as-a-service” product, which provides easily integrated compliance solutions, also serves as a key differentiating factor in favor of Arival.

According to its website, Arival is not a bank yet, but it has applied for a US-based international banking license that is on track to be granted this year. Berger told the Business Times that the US license, which is in the final stages of receiving preliminary approval, will be “complementary” to the Singapore license.

“It gives us a unique entry to the US banking market as well, and allows us to contribute to an ecosystem that is in need of a natural remedy for economic boost such as fintech,” he added.

In addition to the US and Singapore, Arival has also started the application process for a similar license in Europe and looks to receive it by the end of the year.

Arival joins a growing list of companies that have announced their Singapore digital banking bids: Grab and SingtelAnt FinancialSea, and an Enigma-led consortium, among others. Singapura Finance and digital payment startup MatchMove Pay have also reportedly teamed up to apply for a digital full bank license in the city-state.