Paramount Corp and Star Media Group apply for digital banking licence

Paramount Corp's Group CEO Jeffrey Chew

KUALA LUMPUR: Paramount Corp Bhd and Star Media Group Bhd (SMG) have jointly applied for a digital banking licence from Bank Negara as part of a five-member consortium with the aim of accelerating their digital growth strategies.

“Paramount had earlier mentioned that it was looking at the feasibility of applying for a digital bank licence. We wish to confirm that we made an application as a lead applicant of a consortium to Bank Negara on June 30, 2021," said Paramount Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jeffrey Chew in a statement.

The other members of the consortium comprise RCE Capital Bhd, a financial services company and a subsidiary of Amcorp Group Bhd, Prosper Palm Oil Mill Sdn Bhd, and a technology partner.

Chew said he hoped that through transformative technologies, Paramount would be able to bring innovative financial experience to Malaysians.

“The venture into digital banking is in line with SMG’s digital transformation strategy and is synergistic with our continuous efforts to grow within the digital sphere,” Star Media Group CEO Alex Yeow said in the same statement.

“We are excited to explore this new business opportunity together with Paramount and other members of the consortium,” he said.

As custodian of The Star, one of Malaysia’s leading and trusted sources of English news, SMG offers integrated media solutions and holds a strong presence in print, digital, radio,as well as events and exhibitions, with a reach of over 24 million.

Yeow said that with SMG’s media platforms being largely digital-based, the group is well-positioned to bring its extensive reach and unique expertise to the partnership with Paramount. “Paramount’s future thinking aptitude is evident in their most recent venture into fintech. Together, we hope to be able to bring innovative solutions to meet the needs of consumers,” he added.

Paramount recently invested in Fundaztic, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, marking its first steps into the financial technology sector.

With its core business in property development, Paramount divested its majority stake in its tertiary education and pre-tertiary businesses in 2019 and 2020 respectively, and has been on a lookout for new business opportunities.

As Paramount is also expanding on its core property business, proceeds from the divestment have been used for the purchase of new land banks and for overseas expansion, among others.

It still has 35% and 20% stakes in the tertiary education business and pre-tertiary education businesses that it could monetise from 2022.

Paramount also owns the tertiary education campuses in Penang, Shah Alam and Petaling Jaya worth about RM500.4mil.

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