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Start Your Own Bank in St. Lucia: License for an International Bank

Banking is one of the most profitable and attractive types of business in the financial sector. Bank formation can be a rather complicated and expensive process these days. However, some jurisdictions allow obtaining a banking license on more reasonable terms. Offshore Pro Group offers you assistance in obtaining a St. Lucia banking license for an international bank.

International banks doing business from Saint Lucia are regulated by the International Banks Act. This law covers banking license requirements and required procedures.

St Lucia banking license

Obtaining an offshore banking license is a fairly complex and rigorous process. It requires complete information about the applicant, their business activities, and plans for a new bank. This information is required for due diligence by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of Saint Lucia. In this way, St Lucia is protecting its reputation as a safe and respected jurisdiction for banking business.

However, despite all possible difficulties, our specialists will help you obtain a license for banking in Saint Lucia as simply and quickly as possible.

St. Lucia banking license classes

An international bank may apply for a St. Lucia banking license in one of two classes:

  • Class A banking license – entitles its holder to conduct international banking activities with third parties.
  • Class B banking license (Limited/Private license) – allows its holder to conduct business ONLY with related parties declared when applying for a license.

However, neither of these banking license types allows you to do business with Saint Lucia residents.

Establishing Saint Lucia IBC for bank formation

The first step for own offshore bank formation in Saint Lucia is establishing an international business company (IBC). Before applying for a banking license, it is necessary to obtain the consent of the FSRA (the St Lucia banking regulator) to establish an IBC. However, in practice, both applications are often submitted simultaneously.

An IBC applying for a St. Lucia banking license may choose tax exemption or taxation at a rate of 1%. In addition, license holders are not subject to currency control.

Capital requirements for own offshore bank in Saint Lucia

The minimum required capital amount depends on the Saint Lucia banking license class:

  • Class A banking license – the applicant must maintain a fully paid-up capital of at least USD 1 million.
  • Class B banking license – the minimum amount of paid-up capital is USD 250,000.

In addition, regardless of the banking license class, depositing USD 100,000 at an approved bank (not necessarily in Saint Lucia) is required. However, although the Law establishes minimum capital requirements, the actual capital requirements in each bank formation case are negotiated with the FSRA based on the nature of future business activities. The regulator’s aim is to make sure that the bank is sufficiently capitalized for its proposed activities, rather than scraping by with the mimimum.

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Eligible assets for own offshore bank in Saint Lucia

The assets of an international bank registered in Saint Lucia may include:

  1. Cash or deposit with an institution licensed under the laws of Saint Lucia or a financial institution in good standing under the laws of a recognized country or jurisdiction or with other financial institutions approved by the FSRA.
  2. Bonds, debentures, or other evidence of indebtedness issued or guaranteed by the government of Saint Lucia, the United Kingdom, the United States (including individual state governments), Canada (including individual provincial governments), or any other FSRA-approved country or jurisdiction.
  3. Bonds, debentures, or other evidence of indebtedness issued or guaranteed by any municipal corporation and secured by rates or charges levied and collectible by such municipal corporation under the authority of the governments referred to in paragraph 2.
  4. Other shares or debt securities actively listed on an approved stock exchange, provided that such securities are included as eligible assets only to the extent of 50% of the total insurer’s assets.
  5. Real estate located in Saint Lucia.
  6. Accounts receivable, less allowance for doubtful debts.
  7. Irrevocable letters of credit issued or endorsed by an institution licensed under the Saint Lucia Banking Act, or financial institutions in good standing under the laws of any recognized country or jurisdiction, or other approved financial institutions.

Requirements for international bank formation in Saint Lucia

To obtain a St. Lucia banking license for their own offshore bank, an applicant needs to meet several requirements. They concern both the organizational structure of the bank and its financial stability.

Liquidity requirements

When applying for a Saint Lucia banking license, it is necessary to provide a business plan and forecast of activities. They must clearly demonstrate the bank’s ability to maintain a liquidity level necessary for carrying out all planned operations and consistent with the bank’s needs.

Bank directors

Each licensed bank must have at least two directors. To obtain a St. Lucia banking license, at least one of the directors must be a St Lucia resident.

Registered agent

Banking legislation requires the bank to have a registered agent and a registered office in Saint Lucia. In addition, the bank must annually submit audited financial reports.

Cost of an international bank formation in Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia bank formation and banking license cost is formed from government and professional fees and various annual fees. Government fees are as follows:

 Class A banking licenseClass B banking license
Government feesUSD 25,800USD 15,800
Professional feesUSD 25,300USD 25,300
Annual fees
Government feesUSD 25,300USD 15,300
Registered agent/officeUSD 15,000USD 15,000
Provision of a Saint Lucia resident directorUSD 5,000USD 5,000
License renewalUSD 25,000USD 15,000

Additional expenses:

  •  banking license application processing fees (non-refundable) – USD 1,000
  • Saint Lucia IBC annual fee – USD 300
  • advance non-refundable payment for starting the procedure for obtaining Saint Lucia banking license – USD 10,000

Professional fees represent payment for related services’ set to fulfil the necessary requirements for obtaining a banking license. It’s actually here that the bulk of the investment will be required. The bank will require premises, secure software and highly qualified staff, as well as professional assistance from lawyers, accountants and IT consultants. The cost of these services obviously depends a lot on the planned business activity and the type of license applied for, but most cliets budget between USD 250,000 and USD 500,000 for a modest start-up bank.

Procedure for obtaining St. Lucia banking license for an international bank

  1. The first step is to contact Offshore Pro Group for professional assistance in obtaining a banking license in Saint Lucia. You can do it by emailing [email protected]. If you have any queries at this stage, don’t hesitate to set up a call or Zoom meeting.
  2. The second step is to pay for our initial expert assistance in obtaining a banking license. You can pay using cryptocurrencies, credit card, cryptocurrencies or a bank transfer.
  3. The third step is to collect all the necessary documentation.

Documents required to obtain a St Lucia banking license:

  •  Information about the company applying for the license (name, nominal and issued share capital).
  • Company constituent documents: Memorandum and Articles of Association, Certificate of Incorporation.
  • Business plan.
  • Formal written declaration of intent from each shareholder.
  • Names and addresses of all shareholders (indicating percentage participation), directors, and officers.
  • Highly detailed CVs containing information about the executives’ qualifications and experience, making them suitable candidates to lead a financial enterprise in Saint Lucia. CV has to contain the following information:
    • first and last name
    • date and place of birth
    • citizenship
    • country of residence
    • length of stay
    • personal addresses for the previous ten years (with dates)
    • qualification obtained in the course of education
    • qualification obtained in the course of professional activity
    • employment history
  • Notarized passport copy, police certificate of no criminal record, and three references, one of which needs to be issued by a recognized banking institution.
  • USD 500,000 liability insurance (optional but may be required at Saint Lucia FSRA’s discretion).
  •  Letter of agreement from a suitable auditor.
  • Provisional balance sheet certified by auditors and confirming compliance with Saint Lucia capital requirements.
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