Features of the banking system in the Caribbean
The Caribbean region has a developed banking system. There are 150 financial institutions, including branches of large American and European banks. The main currencies are the East Caribbean dollar, the euro, and the US dollar. In some countries, national currencies are also used, such as the Dominican peso or the Haitian gourde.
In 1974, the governments of the Caribbean countries established the Association of Caribbean Banks, which includes the state-owned and most reliable banks in the region. The Association lobbies for the interests of local banks and helps them minimize risks during economic crises. There are also two large regional banks operating in the Caribbean, the Caribbean Development Bank and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.
Caribbean Development Bank is the largest financial institution in the region. It supports the Caribbean, funds government programs, and helps reduce poverty in the region. For example, during a pandemic, the bank introduced an exit plan from the crisis on the economies. The bank does not provide services to individuals.
The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, or ECCB, is the main financial and credit body for the union of eight countries: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The bank maintains a common foreign exchange reserve of the member countries, issues East Caribbean dollars and establishes a unified financial policy in the region. It does not provide services to individuals and legal entities.
In the spring of 2021, ECCB launched its own digital currency, DCash. It is allowed to be used even by those who do not have a Caribbean bank account. Users can transfer money and pay for purchases from abroad. But the citizens and residents of the Caribbean countries have more opportunities.
Who can open an account in a Caribbean bank
Individuals and legal entities open bank accounts in the Caribbean. The conditions and procedure for opening accounts are similar. Citizens and residents of a Caribbean country are entitled to use all the services of a local bank. Non-residents, however, need to clarify what financial transactions are available to them.
Individuals can open a bank account online. A representative with a notarized power of attorney is entitled to submit the client's documents. Opening accounts is allowed in local currency, dollars or euros.
What accounts can be opened in Caribbean banks
Using the example of the Republican Bank of Grenada, we will show what accounts can be opened in the Caribbean. The bank is considered one of the best in the region and has been operating for about 30 years.
Bank customers can open a personal, savings, currency or checking account at one of the bank's branches or through an online application. Bank branches are located in cities of Grenada. St. George's, St. Andrew, and on the island of Carriacou are where the banks in Grenada are situated.
Online service is free. Clients can:
- transfer money between their accounts;
- transfer money to third party accounts with the Republican Bank;
- view statements, accounts and transaction histories;
- pay loans, utilities;
- create or delete an account.
The procedure for opening a bank account
The procedure for opening different accounts is similar. So, in order to open a personal account for the first time, residents of Grenada submit to the bank:
- An identity document. This can be a passport, driver's license, or a resident card.
- Certificate of income.
- Proof of registration, such as a utility bill.
Sometimes you need to attach a letter of recommendation from another bank and make a first deposit to the account. To find out the minimum amount for opening an account, you need to fill out a special form on the website and wait for the operator's response. The minimum contribution can range from zero to $10,000.
From the moment of filing an application to opening an account, it takes from one day to a week.
Legal entities also provide a package of corporate documents for opening an account. The documents must be translated into English and certified by a notary.
How to obtain Caribbean citizenship in order to use all the banking services
Caribbean citizenship can be obtained in different ways, for example, by naturalization or by marrying a citizen. However, the fastest option is by investments.
Five Caribbean countries are offering investors to invest in the country's economy and get a second passport. The minimum investment amount depends on the program and option.
Caribbean Countries with Citizenship Programs
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||$150,000+|| National Bank of St Kitts and Nevis|
Caribbean Credit Card Corporation
|Grenada||$150,000+|| Republican Bank of Grenada|
Grenada Co-operative Bank Limited
|Dominica||$100,000+|| National Bank of Dominica|
The Dominica Agricultural Industrial and Development Bank
|Antigua and Barbuda||$100,000+|| Caribbean Union Bank|
Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank
|Saint Lucia||$100,000+|| National Bank of Saint Lucia|
Berkeley Financial Holding
The entire list of Caribbean banks can be seen on the website of the Caribbean Association of Banks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. All banking services are available to the investor if they obtained citizenship in a Caribbean country. Terms of service for non-residents need to be checked with a specific bank.
Yes. Most Caribbean banks serve clients remotely through the browser version of the Internet Bank or a mobile application.
The cost of maintaining an account depends on the bank. So, in the Republican Bank of Grenada for citizens over 49 years old it is possible to open a savings account at a rate of 2%, the amount of the minimum balance must be $10,000. Maintenance of such an account is $3.45 per month.
To open an account with a Caribbean bank, the client provides documents proving his identity and registration, a certificate of income. Sometimes you need to provide a letter of recommendation from another bank and immediately make the first deposit to the account.