Web-only Next Bank (將來銀行) and Line Bank (連線商業銀行) yesterday received earlier-than-expected approvals from the Fair Trade Commission, which said their operations would not hamper competition.
The establishment of the two banks would better serve the public interest rather than have a negative effect on competition, the commission said in a statement.
The approvals came as the Web-only banks prepare to start operations in the first quarter of next year as planned.
The competition watchdog was originally expected to review the two cases next month.
“The banks that have invested in the two Web-only banks do not have a dominant market share in the areas of deposits, loans and credit cards,” the commission said.
“In addition, they do not plan to transfer existing business to the newly formed Web-only banks, indicating that their establishment would not cause price hikes,” it added.
Next Bank, 41.9 percent owned by Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), has six other shareholders: Mega International Commercial Bank (兆豐銀行); KGI Bank (凱基銀行); PX Mart Co (全聯); and Shin Kong Group’s (新光集團) subsidiaries Shin Kong Life Insurance Co (新光人壽), Taiwan Shin Kong Security Co (新光保全) and Great Taipei Gas Corp (大台北瓦斯).
Line Bank, which is 49.9 percent owned by Line Financial Taiwan Corp (台灣連線金融科技), also has four shareholders from the financial industry — Taipei Fubon Bank (台北富邦銀行), CTBC Bank (中信銀行), Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan Ltd (渣打台灣銀行) and Union Bank of Taiwan (聯邦銀行) — as well as two shareholders from the telecoms industry: Taiwan Mobile Co (台灣大哥大) and Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信).
Users of mobile messaging app Line can still choose to open accounts with Line Bank, while its competitors could collaborate with other messaging service providers to build a user base, the commission said.
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