International Banking License

International Banks are governed by the International Banks Act, Chapter 99 (find it here).  To obtain an international banking license from the Financial Services Authority, the company has to ensure that its operations can adequately be defined as banking business. Banking business according to the International Banks Act, Chapter 99 of the Revised Laws of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, 2009 is described as:

  1. The business of receiving funds through
  • the acceptance of monetary deposits that are repayable on demand or after notice or any similar operation,
  • the sale or placement of bonds, certificates, notes or other securities and the use of them, either in whole or in part, for loans or investment for the risk of the customer; and
  1. Any other activity recognised by the Central Bank or the Authority as customary banking practice and which a financial institution may additionally be authorised to do.

An entity must first obtain a license from the FSA before it engages in banking business. The two classes of international banks that are licensed by the FSA are:

–       Class A with capital requirements of US$3M and a statutory deposit of US$500,000. Class A imposes no restrictions on the international bank’s offshore business activities; and

–       Class B with capital requirements of US$0.5M and a statutory deposit of US$100,000.00. Class B allows the international bank to conduct business only with non-resident persons specifically named in an undertaking accompanying the licence application.

In addition to the above requirements, all international banks are required to have a physical place of business in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a minimum of two employees (one at senior management level) and have at least two directors approved by the FSA, one of which must be a resident of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

International banks are not allowed to conduct banking business with residents of SVG,  invest in any asset that represents a claim on any resident or buy bonds or other securities issued by the state. All international banks are subject to onsite inspections at least once every 12-18 months, and on a risk-sensitive basis.

The Application processing time is between 4 – 6 weeks to facilitate the undertaking of due diligence checks and analyses

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