Axiata Group and RHB Banking Group teamed to apply for a digital banking licence in Malaysia, seeking to increase competitiveness, and accelerate the country’s digital transformation and financial inclusion goals.

The operator’s Boost Holdings e-wallet subsidiary and RHB will form a consortium under a framework issued by Bank Negara Malaysia, with a 60:40 ownership split.

Axiata and RHB stated they aim to expand Boost Holding’s fintech experience developed through Aspirasi, a digital micro-financing and -insurance provider.

Izzaddin Idris, president and CEO of Axiata, stated the move contributes to government goals of narrowing a digital divide and will “meet the fast-evolving demands of segments of retail customers and micro-SMEs overlooked by traditional institutions”.

RHB chief Khairussaleh Ramli added the collaboration establishes a foundation for other partnerships in countries where both companies operate.

“We believe that broadening our collaboration will result in greater accomplishments, particularly in enhancing customer experience as well as providing greater accessibility to banking services for a wide range of customers.”

Celcom in Malaysia signed up as a commercial partner on joint go-to-market activities with the digital bank, with additional commercial partners being finalised, Axiata stated.

Boost Holdings CEO Sheyantha Abeykoon, believes the partnership will boost availability of financial services for the underserved by delivering “accessible, convenient and trusted” products.