Viva Republica cosies up to Standard Chartered in plan to form Korean challenger
Viva Republica, the South Korean operator of peer-to-peer money transfer app Toss, has signed an agreement with Standard Chartered Bank Korea with a view to winning a licence to become an online bank.
According to local publication Pulse, the two firms have formed a partnership to file for a preliminary licence for the country’s third internet-only bank.
The attempt will be the second for Viva Republica, which tried to gain a licence in March to create Toss Bank, but was shot down due to questions over its business and funding.
Viva Republica holds a majority 60.8% stake in Toss, but according to Korean law, only a financial corporation could hold that large a stake in an internet bank. An ICT firm may hold a maximum 34% stake.
The South Korean Financial Services Commission (FSC) is receiving preliminary applications until 15 October.
An FSC spokesperson told the Korea Times that rumours about Standard Chartered Korea and Viva Republica were “entirely untrue”.
To date, only K Bank and Kakao Bank have secured virtual banking licences in Korea. The former recorded a net loss of 79.7 billion won in 2018 ($67 million), while the latter saw a loss of 21.2 billion ($17.9 million).