SINGAPORE (Nov 28): Singapore Telecommunications is in talks with companies including Grab Holdings Inc to jointly bid for a digital banking licence in the city-state, according to people familiar with the matter.

See: Grab eyes Singapore banking licence as regulator studies virtual banks

Singtel, Grab and Great Eastern Holdings, the insurance unit of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, are discussing the formation of a consortium following Singapore’s decision to open online banking to non-bank firms, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

The talks haven’t yet been finalised and the companies involved might yet decide on other structures, the people said.

A spokesperson for Singtel said the company is “still evaluating various options,” while a spokeswoman for Grab pointed to previous comments on the ride-hailing firm’s interest in applying for a digital bank licence in Singapore. Both declined to comment on the specific talks. Great Eastern declined to comment.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore unveiled plans this year to grant as many as five virtual bank licences to boost competition and innovation in the nation’s financial industry.

See: Singapore to offer up to five digital bank licences

Bids are due in by the end of the year, and China’s Ant Financial and Razer Inc are among the other companies considering applications.

See: Ant may join race for Singapore virtual bank licences