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Caribbean Offshore Banking: A Concise Guide

the best Caribbean banks

The Caribbean, with its sun-kissed beaches and azure waters, offers more than just a tropical paradise; it’s also home to a thriving offshore banking industry. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the nuances of Caribbean banking, including the impact of derisking, COVID-19, sanctions, and the energy crisis on the region’s financial systems. We will delve into the best banks in the Caribbean for non-residents in 2023. And we’ll answer the burning question: Can you still open a Caribbean bank account as a non-resident? 

Navigating Caribbean Banking: A Complex Landscape

Over the past decade, Caribbean banking has faced substantial challenges, particularly when it comes to serving non-resident clients. Correspondent account derisking, which occurred from 2015 to 2020, left some Caribbean banks with severely limited access to the global financial system. However, the Caribbean still offers opportunities for remote account openings in top banks of select countries. Follow the link to find out more about the best Caribbean banks.

If you value your time and effort, you should start by getting in touch with a trusted representative who can help you open a Caribbean bank account. It could be a local lawyer, accountant, a trustee, or a professional consultant. Why is that important? Because it will save you a lot of energy and worry, and the bank will be more comfortable dealing with a person they know.  

The British West Indies: A Hub of International Finance

One unique aspect of the Caribbean is its collection of independent nations, often referred to as the “British West Indies.” While these nations share common cultural ties, each has its history, people, and financial system. This diversity extends to the banking sector, with numerous banks operating in countries such as Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia, Nevis, St. Kitts, and even Belize.

Understanding the Dual Financial Systems in the Caribbean

To comprehend Caribbean banking, it’s essential to recognize the presence of dual financial systems. The Eastern Caribbean countries operate under a combined financial system regulated by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), headquartered in St. Kitts and Nevis. This system uses the Eastern Caribbean dollar (XCD) as its currency, pegged to the US dollar since 1976.

However, most banks catering to non-residents in the Caribbean operate outside the ECCB system. They prefer dealing with local regulators rather than surrendering their independence to the ECCB. This results in two parallel financial systems within the Caribbean, offering different advantages and challenges.

Opening a Caribbean Bank Account Remotely

Starting an account in a Caribbean bank is a relatively straightforward process, but it comes with compliance hurdles. Caribbean banks have become stringent on compliance due to international pressure, requiring applicants to provide extensive documentation, including bank references and source of funds verification.

To streamline the process and ensure a smoother experience, it’s advisable to engage a trusted intermediary. These intermediaries, often local professionals like lawyers, accountants, or trustees, are familiar with the bank’s requirements and can bridge the communication gap. They help applicants navigate complexities such as obtaining bank references and certifying company documents, potentially saving costs and time.

Before selecting a Caribbean bank from the list of options, finding a suitable intermediary experienced in remote Caribbean account openings is essential. Trusted intermediaries can significantly facilitate the onboarding process, ensuring a more efficient experience.

Banking Options Across the Caribbean Nations

Each Caribbean nation offers unique banking opportunities:

  • Antigua and Barbuda: Antigua and Barbuda’s banking sector gained strength after the 2013 Financial Services Regulatory Commission Act. Among the eight international banks licensed in the country, BOI Bank Corporation, D Bank Limited, and Global Bank of Commerce are prominent names. These banks cater to niche markets and can be selective about clients.
  • Belize: Belize’s Central Bank oversees the country’s offshore banking sector, with Caye Bank International Limited standing out as the most active international bank. Belize offers foreign currency services for non-residents, making it an attractive destination for private banking.
  • Dominica: Dominica’s offshore banking sector is supervised by the Financial Services Unit (FSU) of the Dominica Ministry of Finance. Despite having a number of licensed banks, Dominica’s banking industry has seen some instability, and you should be cautious when considering banking here.
  • St. Kitts and Nevis: Nevis, in particular, is known for asset protection and trust jurisdictions. However, the Nevis banking system faced challenges in 2022. Among the three offshore banks in Nevis—Bank of Nevis International Limited, Hamilton Reserve Bank, and International Merchant Bank—the latter is the most recommended option, though it is not crypto-friendly.
  • St. Lucia: St. Lucia hosts 14 banks, with Proven Bank (formerly Boslil Bank) being the largest and most reputable. While Proven Bank offers robust services, its onboarding process can be slow. Other banks like Amerigo Banking Corporation, Strategic Bank Limited, and Euro Exim Bank Ltd. cater to various niches.

Caribbean Banks and Cryptocurrencies

Caribbean banks vary in their approach to cryptocurrencies. While some are crypto-friendly, most face limitations due to their small size and limited access to the international financial system. As of now, there are no 100% crypto-friendly banks in the Caribbean, but the landscape is evolving.

For crypto transactions with Caribbean banks, it’s advisable to coordinate with your consultant or intermediary. They can provide insights into which transactions are possible with specific banks, depending on your circumstances. 

Citizenship by Investment for Enhanced Services

Consider obtaining citizenship in an Eastern Caribbean country to access additional banking services reserved for locals. Five Eastern Caribbean nations, including Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Lucia, offer citizenship through investment programs. This can grant you access to a wider range of services, including transactions in Eastern Caribbean dollars, cheque cashing, and credit cards.

In conclusion, the Caribbean presents diverse offshore banking opportunities. The choice of destination should align with your unique financial goals and preferences. Collaborating with a seasoned expert can simplify the process and help you select the most suitable Caribbean banking option for your needs. Please do not hesitate to email us at today.

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