Salmon, a financial technology company based in the Philippines, announced Tuesday that it has become a licensed bank in the Philippines.

Salmon said in a statement that that it has received regulatory approval from the Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to acquire the controlling interest in Rural Bank of Sta. Rosa (Laguna), a licensed financial institution serving Filipino communities since 1963.

Salmon will own 59.7 percent of the bank upon the completion of this transaction, which will conclude in the coming weeks.

The bank’s license and its geographic footprint will enable Salmon to offer artificial intelligence (AI)-centric consumer credit and debit products nationwide.

It is noted that Salmon operates both in offline and online settings, differentiating itself by emphasizing stellar customer service.

Becoming a licensed bank in a major market represents a significant milestone for both Salmon and the Philippines, as Salmon joins only a handful of other fintech companies operating licensed banking institutions in Southeast Asia.

The deal will bolster access to modern banking services for millions of underserved and underbanked Filipinos in key regions including Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao, where Salmon plans to open new branches, subject to BSP approval.

The transaction also supports the Rural Bank Strengthening Program launched by the BSP in 2022 to enhance the country’s rural banking sector and to promote inclusive growth in order to address the changing needs of the dynamic, young and technologically savvy Filipino population.

“We are excited to undertake this important next step in Salmon’s development and grateful for the continued support of the BSP and its vision of driving financial inclusion in the country,” said Raffy Montemayor, Co-Founder and Business Head in the Philippines at Salmon.

According to him, the transaction will help the firm reach additional underserved communities in the Philippines, bringing modern, customer-centric and easy-to-access financial services to more people, regardless of smartphone ownership or customer location as we combine offline and online settings for providing our services.

“This transaction aligns seamlessly with our mission and values to expand financial inclusion and offer modern financial products to every Filipino, and we look forward to continuing our productive cooperation with the BSP to help us fulfill this mission,

“We are proud of the fantastic relationship we have developed with the executive team of the Rural Bank of Sta. Rosa (Laguna), and look forward to building a robust financial institution together to continue serving communities across the Philippines,” he added.

According to the statement, Salmon will maintain and enhance the bank’s offline presence, injecting significant capital and technology into the bank to upgrade its offering for all customers.

Salmon’s products and services, strongly appreciated by its existing customers, will extend across all channels, including offline.

Salmon is a consumer financial technology company in Southeast Asia, dedicated to expanding financial inclusion through cutting-edge, customer-centric, AI and data-driven banking solutions.

Established in July 2022 Salmon is on a mission to empower the underbanked and underserved communities in Southeast Asia with particular focus on enabling access to credit.

Salmon’s growth and development is supported by a top-notch investor base that includes the sovereign wealth fund of Abu Dhabi ADQ, international and Filipino investors.

Philippines-based finance app GCash enters agrifintech with agri-fisheries platform Mayani