AirAsia Bhd’s digital wallet provider BigPay Later, ride-hailing firm Grab unit Grab Finance Malaysia and Axiata Digital Capital, among others, got an approval to operate an online lending business in Malaysia.
As many as eight companies on Friday received conditional approval letters from the Housing and Local Government Ministry, national news agency Bernama reported.
GHL Payments, the unit of listed GHL System Bhd; Presto Credit that sells software-related financial products; hire-purchase and leasing services firm JCL Credit Leasing; online trader and money-lender Fortune Tree Capital; and Hoop Fintech are the other firms to have bagged the approval, according to the media report.
Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin announced the decision during the ministry’s online money lending guidelines’ virtual session.
“We believe that access to financial services is important for individuals, micro, small and medium businesses. This has become more important following the outbreak of COVID-19,” Grab Finance Malaysia head of lending Henry Ho said in a recorded video posted on the Ministry’s Facebook page.
Grabfin Operations (M) is 40 per cent-owned by Cayman Island-registered Grab Financial Services Asia Inc and 60 per cent-owned by The Edge Media Group’s owner Tong Kooi Ong, data from Companies Commission of Malaysia showed. Grab’s co-founder Tan Hooi Ling and Grab Financial Group senior managing director Reuben Lai are listed as directors of the company. Grab has yet to respond to DealStreetAsia’s query at press time.
Budget carrier AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tony Fernandes told Bernama the approval was a lifeline for BigPay. “In this COVID-19 pandemic period, this financing will be available to the B40 group (and) the aim is to try to get loans approved in minutes,” he was quoted as saying.
The guidelines were developed to enable online money lending transactions by licensed community credit companies, which come under the purview of the housing and local government ministry.
With this, the government expects to narrow the digital technology gap as well as facilitate the implementation of community credit transactions in line with the new norms.
It is also an effort by the ministry to modernise the money lending industry (community credit) in line with the industry’s rebranding efforts and create a more conducive, secure, controlled and orderly money lending business environment, the news agency reported.