~ High-risk might not be able to get account ~
From left: SMBA President Derek Downes; CBCS President Richard Doornbosch; CBCS representative Nataly Davelaar (who joined the meeting virtually); SMBA representative Cheryl Pantophlet-Valies; CBCS St. Maarten Director Raquel Lo Fo Wong; SMBA representatives Ronald Halman, Sterl Lyons and Garth Sherwood.
PHILIPSBURG–The Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten (CBCS) and the St. Maarten Bankers Association (SMBA) have agreed that it should be possible for “eligible natural persons” to open a bank account within 10 business days after valid identification, proof of address, and proof of income are provided.
CBCS reported on the agreement between the two following a meeting between CBCS President Richard Doornbosch and CBCS St. Maarten’s Director Raquel Lo Fo Wong and the SMBA on February 16.
The principal aim of the meeting was to discuss the efforts of local banks to improve the banking experience of consumers in St. Maarten. In particular, the requirements for opening and closing of bank accounts, consumer rights, and complaints procedure were discussed.
“The CBCS and the SMBA agreed that it should be possible for eligible natural persons to open a bank account within 10 business days after valid identification, proof of address, and proof of income can be provided,” CBCS said in a press statement. “In a digitalised society, a bank account is a key requirement for financial inclusion. New innovations might provide alternatives in the not-too-distant future, but the limited interconnectedness of, for example, digital wallets restrict their functionality as a universal means of payment.”
With respect to business accounts, the legal requirements for opening a bank account were discussed at length. “The onboarding process tends to be more complicated and thus lengthy as the CBCS requires commercial banks to establish who is the beneficial owner and who is legally entitled to act on behalf of the company,” it was stated in the release. “For companies, this is not always straightforward. The banks are in addition required by law to understand the transaction behaviour of the company in order to identify unusual activity.”
Commercial banks indicated that for small local businesses the opening of an account should be possible within the same 10 working days as for natural persons after receiving all the required documents. “They also stated that the opening of bank accounts is a commercial decision. Some high-risk individuals and companies might not be able to open a bank account in St. Maarten based on the risk appetite of the financial institution.
The CBCS stressed the need to have adequate identification, customer due diligence, and transaction monitoring procedures in place for all clients as the CBCS will intensify its supervision on these elements,” the release continued. “However, these procedures should not stand in the way of excellent customer service for existing and potential clients.” The complaints procedures for commercial banks were also discussed. CBCS and the SMBA agreed to continue their dialogue on these and other issues.
Bron: Daily Herald