Taiwan approves three online banks

Plans initially permitted only two banks to launch next year

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FSC chief Wellington Koo announced the names of Taiwan's future three Web-only banks Tuesday July 30.

FSC chief Wellington Koo announced the names of Taiwan's future three Web-only banks Tuesday July 30. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) on Tuesday (July 30) unexpectedly approved all three applications it had received for Web-only banks.

Previously, the government body had said it would only allow two online banks to start operations next year, the Central News Agency reported.

Following five months of reviews, FSC chief Wellington Koo (顧立雄) announced he would issue licenses to Next Bank, Rakuten International Commercial Bank, and Line Bank.

The major shareholder in Next Bank is Chunghwa Telecom, which raised its share to 41.9 percent from 30 percent. Other shareholders include Mega and KGI financial groups, Shin Kong, and supermarket chain PX Mart.

Rakuten is a mixed Taiwanese-Japanese project with Waterland Financial Holdings and e-commerce group Rakuten Inc. as the key shareholders. It is also the only of the three groups which does not include participants from outside the financial world, according to CNA.

As the name suggests, Line Bank is led by Line Financial Taiwan Corp., a subsidiary of Line Taiwan Ltd., linked to the popular messaging app. Apart from Line’s 49.9 percent, Taipei Fubon Bank holds 25.1 percent, and the banks CTBC, Union Bank and Standard Chartered and the telecom groups Taiwan Mobile and FarEasTone have 5 percent each.