Given the stringent rules and requirements, obtaining a banking license is a major milestone for any financial institution. The fact that the company has one means it is fully compliant, allowing the financial institution to operate legally in the banking industry. In this article, we will compare the two popular banking licenses issued by Comoros and Saint Lucia.
Banking license in Saint Lucia
The government of Saint Lucia encourages domestic and foreign private investments by offering various incentives. Inter alia, it allows investors to repatriate all profits and dividends, as well as inject capital into the jurisdiction.
Saint Lucia’s legal system is based on British common law but its civil code and property law are greatly influenced by French law. Although Saint Lucia does not have any bilateral investment treaties with the United States, it has signed them with Germany and the UK. Not so long ago, Saint Lucia became the sixth member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and is now a full member of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
Foreign investors are entitled to fully own and control their businesses in Saint Lucia with no restrictions imposed by the local laws as far as your business size is concerned. The government welcomes full foreign company ownership across all sectors.
To establish an international bank in Saint Lucia, the prospective company needs to follow the relevant legislation. This includes applying to the FSRA and meeting the established minimum capital requirements.
Saint Lucia issues banking licenses of two types:
- Class A: Licensees are allowed to do business with anyone they want. They need USD 1,000,000 in authorized capital and USD 100,000 deposited in any FSRA-approved bank.
- Class B: Licensees may only do business with the persons named in their licensing application. They need at least USD 700,000 in minimum paid-up capital and USD 100,000 in an FSRA-approved bank.
Licensees have no right to engage in certain types of business with Saint Lucia residents.
Company registration in Saint Lucia
To get your banking license in Saint Lucia, you need to register an international business company (IBC) first. To save your time, feel free to apply for both simultaneously. A banking license frees you from currency controls in the jurisdiction and may also come with tax benefits for your company.
Here’s what the legislative requirements for an international bank in Saint Lucia include:
- A well-defined business plan outlining your strategy to maintain the liquidity level necessary for stable operations.
- At least two directors, one of whom is a Saint Lucia resident.
- A registered agent and a registered office in Saint Lucia.
These are the documents you will have to submit:
- incorporation documents
- duly completed application for company registration
- detailed CVs of all company executives
- notarized passport copies of the above executives
- proof of residence
- bank statement verifying compliance with capital requirements.
Please be aware that the FSRA may require liability insurance for USD 500,000.
Comoros banking license
To ensure stable functioning of their banks, the government of Comoros has established a reliable banking system. Those willing to obtain a local banking license have to fulfill certain requirements set by the Central Bank of the Comoros (Banque Centrale des Comores or BCC).
All financial establishments in Comoros are obliged to strictly adhere to Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations.
Take a look at some other requirements for licensees in Comoros:
- Company executives must possess qualifications and experience in the banking sector.
- Availability of the infrastructure necessary for banking.
- No business violations.
Here’s what the key benefits of the Comoros banking license include:
- You will be allowed to work with clients from different jurisdictions worldwide.
- Low tax rates.
- You’ll be entitled to offer a range of specialized services to your customers.
- High confidentiality.
Please mind that your Comoros banking license may be revoked if the company engages in any unauthorized activities. Moreover, it may be suspended if the bank fails to pay its annual renewal fee.
Take a look at the list of the documents you will have to submit to get your banking license in Comoros:
- duly completed application form
- your foundling documents
- business plan
- financial documents.
NB: Depending on the specific requirements that Comoros regulatory authorities can have, additional documents may be required.
In Comoros, two types of banking licenses are issued to applicants:
- Class A (or general) license
- Class B (or limited) license.
For an international company seeking a banking license in Comoros, the minimum capital must be at least USD 500,000. You can satisfy this criterion by presenting a bank statement from your personal or corporate account in any bank (there is no requirement for it to be a local one). FYI: The regulator in Comoros may also consider cryptocurrency deposits as acceptable financial guarantees.
Comparative analysis of banking license costs in Saint Lucia and Comoros
|Country issuing your banking license
|Class A license
|Class B license
|Extension of Class A license
|Extension of Class B license
|Minimum authorized capital for Class A license
|Minimum authorized capital for Class B license
As you can see, the requirements for obtaining banking licenses in Saint Lucia and the Comoros are almost identical. In both instances, it is essential to first register your international business company and pay the associated incorporation fees. However, compared to Comoros, Saint Lucia has much higher requirements for the minimum authorized capital.
If a banking license abroad is what you are interested in, International Wealth experts will certainly assist you with getting one either in Comoros or St Lucia. Remember, the choice of an offshore jurisdiction to incorporate a bank is yours!