Fintech Startup Tonik Secures Regulatory Approval from the Central Bank of the Philippines to Operate Country’s First Digital Bank

Tonik Digital Bank, a Philippine subsidiary of Singapore-based fintech startup Tonik Financial, has secured regulatory approval from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, which is the central bank of the Philippines, to operate financial services as the country’s first digital bank. The approval from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will enable the neobanking startup to provide and operate a wide spectrum of financial services in the Philippine market, with a primary emphasis on consumer loans and retail deposits as the country’s unsecured consumer lending market is a US$100 billion opportunity while its retail deposits market is yet another US$140 billion opportunity. With the regulatory approval granted by the Philippine’s central bank, Tonik Digital Bank intends to launch its financial services in the following months.

The regulatory green light for the fintech startup to operate a digital bank in the Philippines presents a great opportunity for Tonik to disrupt the banking industry in the Southeast Asian nation as the country has the lowest digital banking penetration among its peers in the region, according to a recent study done by a consulting company. This is in spite of the fact that the country’s Internet and smartphone penetration rates are relatively consistent with the other countries in Southeast Asia. Additionally, more than 70% of the nation’s adult population currently do not use banks or banking institutions in any capacity. Thus, Tonik can leverage on the population’s relatively high Internet and mobile phone usage to introduce a trusted digital bank for providing financial services, which is presently sorely needed in the country.

Greg Krasnov, who is chief executive officer and founder of Tonik, also established Forum, a Singapore-based fintech venture builder. He is also the founder of Ukraine’s Platinum Bank, which was one of Eastern Europe’s biggest success stories in the consumer lending space. According to Greg, digital only banking institutions around the world have achieved outstanding success in generating returns on equity and assets, which is made possible because of their ability to operate and run at competitively low unit costs, as well as their highly attractive services and consumer proposals, which has enabled them to capture enormous market share as a result. The neobanking startup is proud to be selected by the Philippine central bank as the country’s first digital bank and as a trusted collaborator in advancing the nation’s digital banking ambitions by innovating its financial industry with global digital banking practices.

Chuchi Fonacier, deputy governor at Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ financial supervision sector, said that the Philippine central bank is always on the lookout for promising innovators that can introduce new and dependable solutions and services that foster more financial inclusion among Filipinos. Hence, the central bank is delighted to have Tonik Digital Bank on-board as their partner in the country for providing and spreading efficient digital banking services across the vast unbanked population.

Tonik Financial, the Singapore-based fintech startup, believes that its subsidiary Tonik Digital Bank can successfully disrupt the banking sector of the Philippines and bring even more Filipinos onboard into the digital banking era as the country’s first digital bank. By leveraging on the country’s unsecured consumer lending market and retail deposit market, Tonik is sure to do very well in the Philippine digital banking space.

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Derek Tan

Derek is the news editor at Absolute Market, a news media focusing on the Southeast Asian tech and startup scene. Contact him at derek [at] for any news pitch.