If you’ve tried to open a bank account overseas, you’ve probably come across bank introducers. You know the ones… they charge a hefty fee to introduce you (or your business) to a bank in the hopes of opening an account.
Well, unfortunately, there are many problems with this.
- More times than not, bank introducers will make an introduction to a bank that you can contact yourself
- In most cases, you can’t choose which banks to be introduced to
- Using a bank introducer does not guarantee account opening
- There are three groups of people that engage in bank introductions
Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.
Table of Contents
- The Problem with Bank Introducers
- Opening an Account With a Bank Introducer
- How to Spot Shady Bank Introducers?
- What Happens When You Work With Introducers?
- Buyer Beware: The Biggest Banking Problems With Introducers
The Problem with Bank Introducers
What are their services? Well, usually they profess to be able to introduce you to a bank. Sometimes they offer “special relationships” and the ability to get you “pre-approved”.
But you don’t get to choose the bank. In fact, many service providers will flat-out refuse to tell you the name of the bank that you’re applying to. Sounds crazy, right?
You’re literally paying for a bank introduction, yet you don’t even get to choose the bank. On top of that, you’re being “introduced” by someone who knows nothing about you or your business.
Instead, they charge thousands of dollars to make an introduction to a bank that you could otherwise contact yourself.
And instead of offering guarantees, they simply say that they can’t control if the bank will accept you or not.
Well, they’re not wrong… ultimately it is up to the bank whether your application will be approved or not.
But that doesn’t mean they’re introducing you to the right bank…
Our Problem With Bank Introducers
A review of each bank’s requirements will tell the introducer if you are a suitable client for the bank… no guesswork is required.
So, why don’t they review the requirements before introducing you?
Because in many cases, they already know that your application is going to be denied. But if they tell you that, they won’t get paid.
This is the sort of underhanded behavior that has given the offshore world a bad reputation. Frankly, it’s the old way of account opening.
Yes, there are still bank introducers that do this. Though they tend to be corporate service providers that help people register companies that are extremely difficult to open accounts for.
We know this for a fact because after they set up companies for their clients they come to us, asking for our help to open accounts.
Opening an Account With a Bank Introducer
Introductions do not guarantee that you’ll get an account open. In fact, in most cases, the accounts you apply to through introducers do not get approved.
Instead, you pay over US $1,000 for an email introduction to a bank that did nothing for you. And here’s the kicker. Based on your profile, the introducer already knew if the bank would accept you or not.
If (by some miracle) you are able to get an account opened through an introducer, it typically results in one of two outcomes:
You’ll discover that you could have opened the account by yourself.
In this case, the bank never required an “introduction” in the first place. If the bank accepts you through the introducer, they will accept you directly as well.
In fact, in almost all instances, banks do not need an introducer. Even if the introducer says you do.
Georgia is one jurisdiction where we have been seeing many service providers say you need their services to successfully open accounts. You don’t.
Instead, our members can open a bank account in Georgia remotely by following the step-by-step process we share with them… without paying thousands of dollars to local fixers.
You now have a useless and expensive bank account at a low-quality bank. On top of that, the bank probably doesn’t offer the services that you want or need.
The reason for this is simple…
Most introducers offer “account opening” at low-caliber banks in undesirable jurisdictions.
These banks tend to be desperate for deposits (because they operate in low-quality jurisdictions). So they offer fees to service providers for referring account openers.
Even though most of these banks do not need introducers. For more on why the country you bank in is as important as the bank, read our article dedicated to choosing where to bank.
Important: GlobalBanks does not accept any compensation from banks or financial institutions. This allows us to remain completely objective and unbiased in the content we publish.
Mauritius (pictured above) is another common jurisdiction where introducers often insist their services are “needed”. Yes, there are certain banks in Mauritius that require introducers. But this is definitely not the case in all situations.
How to Spot Shady Bank Introducers?
There are three main groups of people that engage in bank introductions, which are:
- Internationalization gurus,
- Fake introducers, and
- Corporate service providers
Each of these groups has sub-groups. Some of them even offer a bit of value.
But generally speaking, they charge absurd fees because they can help you open an account. And when they are unsuccessful, they’ll charge you another fee for the next introduction.
Let’s dive into these groups so you can start identifying them. If you know the warning signs and what to look out for, you can save yourself a lot of time and money.
#1 Internationalization Gurus
This is a blanket term that we use for anyone engaged in the internationalization space. They typically share their international musings through blogs or newsletters.
Generally speaking, they help people move various aspects of their lives offshore. This includes everything from offshoring assets and living overseas. It also extends to getting residency or citizenship in a different country.
Can Internationalization Gurus Offer Value?
Yes, these groups can offer value when it comes to certain aspects of internationalization. In fact, they can be very helpful. Not as bank introducers but for streamlining research and identifying loopholes.
But given their areas of expertise, they typically focus on very specific legislation. And often, it’s focused on particular jurisdictions. In other cases, most of their information is qualitative and lifestyle-oriented.
This can include citizenship law and legislation for protecting assets. It can also include tax laws to help you understand how and where to move to make your life more tax efficient.
Unfortunately, all that information is rather theoretical. That’s not to say it’s wrong. On the contrary, many members of GlobalBanks premium services subscribe to these gurus.
But that type of theoretical approach has limited value when it comes to the world of banking.
It results in content that focuses on the ease of opening in a theoretical sense. For example, they’ll tell you that you can open accounts remotely in Georgia so long as you have a Power of Attorney.
But they won’t outline the actual steps that they took to complete the process themselves. And they’re unable to provide real-world examples of people getting it done. That doesn’t offer much more value than other bank introducers.
The Problem With Theory
This kind of theoretical approach isn’t wrong. But it does avoid the reality of whether you are actually going to be able to open an account.
Not to mention the differing experiences that people can have at the same bank. Or the different experiences that one person can have at different branches of the same bank.
To truly help people open accounts, you need to be assessing banks constantly. And bank introducers and international gurus just don’t do this.
Banking can not be a side note to a broader research strategy, it has to be at the core of what you do. And in case you’re new to our site, that’s exactly what we do at GlobalBanks.
#2 Fake Bank Introducers
Bank introducers exist in almost every country. They prey on newbies that don’t understand the banking sector.
Sometimes these introducers target people who are unfamiliar with the local banking customs. Other times, they target people who have never opened an international account before.
In some very rare instances, a bank might require an introducer. But that typically means that introductions are governed by local regulations.
The problem is that introducers will always tell you a bank requires an introduction. Even when no such requirement exists.
How & Why Bank Introducers Got Started
In the pre-internet days, bank introducers primarily included lawyers and corporate service providers. They introduced pre-vetted clients to banks around the world.
With no internet or compliance databases to cross-check, banks depended on these introductions. If a service provider could vouch for a client, it was a valuable credibility indicator.
Also, it’s important to point out that introductions stood for something at that time. If a bank introducer made a bad client intro, it would ruin their reputation.
But when the internet came along, everything changed.
Since the 1990s, an entirely new industry dedicated to fake bank introductions appeared. And with the onset of the internet and online payment processing, the industry exploded.
Basically, anyone with a website could offer “bank account introductions” to consumers. No actual banking relationships were needed.
Why Bank Introducers Can Continue To Offer “Services”?
Lawyers, accountants, and corporate service providers make money by setting up offshore structures.
If people know certain companies can’t get bank accounts, demand for them drops. So, law firms that rely on setting up such companies for 95% of their profits keep quiet. Why on earth would they take a stand and call out fake introducers? It’s those introducers that are helping their structures appear more attractive.
Meanwhile, banks are restricted on what they can say. They have to abide by regulations that govern how they communicate with consumers.
If a bank steps out of line, they get slapped with fines. So, they have zero interest in making statements about their account opening practices.
And it’s for this reason that the fake introducers are still alive and well.
#3 Corporate Service Providers
The last group of introducers is the corporate service providers… but can they open an account for you?
The answer is simple: maybe.
If a corporate service provider is able to get you an account, odds are – you could have opened the same account on your own. It just costs you a lot more if you hire a corporate service provider to assist you.
That said, many credible service providers and law firms won’t offer bank account opening services.
That’s because they know it’s unlikely that an account will be opened at all. This is especially true for exotic companies (e.g. Seychelles, Belize, Panama, etc).
Understanding Corporate Service Provider Motivations
Corporate service providers make money by incorporating and maintaining companies. And they do this in their respective jurisdictions.
Additionally, they likely offer other services. These can include nominee directors, corporate secretaries, or account services. Additionally, they might have an accounting or mail forwarding arm.
Bottom-line, the lifeblood of their business is setting up and maintaining companies. Their secondary revenue source is the services they sell to those companies. And bank account opening is a small portion of what they do.
Many service providers know that you want a bank account to go along with your company. After all, what good is a company if it can’t open a bank account?
In other words, they suck you in by promising you’ll be able to open a bank account. But their only real objective is to sell you a company and charge you fees.
After they set up the company for you, you’re on your own. Oh, and if you decide to shut down the company – they’ll charge you for that too.
Quick Recap on Bank Introducers
These three groups are not out to help you open accounts, find the best bank, or solve your banking problems.
The internationalization gurus aren’t banking experts. And, while they may talk about offshore banking occasionally, it’s not their core focus.
Their articles and reports are often laced with outdated, inaccurate information. They’ll call up one bank, talk to one banker, and never set up an account.
But from that, they’ll recommend this bank as the ‘best bank’ in the jurisdiction. Or they might say it’s amazing for non-residents…when it’s really not.
Meanwhile, fake introducers can continue to offer services because the internet hasn’t called them out yet.
They prey on people who desperately need to open a bank account. Or they go after people that are new to the offshore banking world and don’t have access to the right information.
And corporate service providers have a vested interest to sell you structures. So, of course, they’ll sell you bank introductions if it means you’ll also buy a company from them.
What Happens When You Work With Introducers?
In any of the scenarios above, you are paying US $1,000 to $5,000 for bad banking information. And when you do get an introduction, it’s disingenuous and won’t get you results.
That’s one of the reasons that becoming a member of GlobalBanks is so unique. Unlike bank introducers, we don’t charge you for introductions at all.
Instead, we give you the tools, strategies, and actionable intelligence that you need to open accounts on your own. And, we do it for a small fraction of the cost.
With our banking intelligence platform, GlobalBanks IQ – you will be able to navigate the international banking world and make the best decisions for yourself.
You choose which banks to apply to, based on real account opening experiences and data. Protect your assets and avoid the pitfalls of dealing with shady bank introducers.
Buyer Beware: The Biggest Banking Problems With Introducers
Here’s a breakdown of the most important things that you need to watch out for when opening bank accounts. These are common pitfalls that people have experienced when dealing with these groups.
1. The bank introducer won’t tell you the name of the bank
This is a common tactic amongst introducers and service providers.
The general process is: a client pays a fee, then the bank introducer will choose which bank the client should be introduced to. They will refuse to tell you the name of any of the banks they work with. You just have to sit there and hope that the introducer chooses a bank that actually meets your needs and isn’t horrendous.
2. The bank you end up with could be very low quality
If you don’t know which bank the bank introducers are going to introduce you to, you could end up with a very low-quality bank. And it’s very common that bank introducers will introduce you to banks in a low-quality jurisdiction.
Banking at a low-quality bank or in a jurisdiction with a poor reputation can damage your business and make you look like an amateur. It also might cost you more money because the bank might have exorbitant fees or not even have the services you need. For instance, some banks can’t even send and receive transfers in US dollars.
3. The bank introducer only introduces banks you could approach on your own
This is exactly why they don’t tell you the name of the bank until you pay them. They are worried that after you get the name of the bank, you will just go ahead and try to open the account yourself. Though even then your chances are low without the right strategy and the right information going in.
4. Bank introducers charge you a separate introduction fee for each bank
Remember: even if you can’t open an account, you still have to pay the introducer. You’ll also have to spend more money to either open an account at a different bank by yourself or pay them for a second introduction to a second bank.
This fee structure indicates that they don’t actually care if you successfully open an account or not. All they care about is generating as many fees as possible. Fees can range anywhere from $500-$2000 per bank.
To learn more about the costs of opening accounts, read our recent article “Bank Account Opening Doesn’t Have To Cost You Thousands Of Dollars“.
5. Bank introducers rely on “special relationships” to open a bank account
If an introducer says they have “special relationships” or can get you “pre-approved” at a particular bank, beware. This is a pretty good sign that whatever they’re offering isn’t great.
In fact, many introducers and service providers falsely advertise “special relationships” to convince people that they can get accounts open. But even if your service provider has a cousin working inside the bank, this won’t help you.
Bottom Line on Bank Introducers
You won’t get the account open unless you have the right opening strategy. This requires the right information and you need to know the bank’s customer preferences and unspoken requirements. Only then can you present yourself in a way that is attractive to the bank. And therein lies the problem.
Regulations have changed banking forever. Front-office bankers, like your service provider’s cousin, don’t have any power. They can’t push through applications like they did ten years ago.
Instead, these days, everything goes to the compliance department. Here, your application is scrutinized for red flags, KYC/AML issues, and inconsistencies. The compliance department dictates your fate and decides who gets an account open.
Are You Ready to Get Started?
If you’re ready to take action and start opening international accounts now, you can access GlobalBanks IQ, our dedicated international banking intelligence platform.
GlobalBanks IQ gives you everything you need to start finding and opening accounts for you or your business today.
When you join GlobalBanks IQ, you immediately unlock the GlobalBanks Database of international banks — home to 250+ banks in 50+ countries.
And, you get access to our library of premium (members-only) reports, including proven account opening strategies, country-specific banking options, and lists of banks for specific client types.
Plus, you unlock our account opening checklists, dedicated account opening alerts, and much more.
To get started, click here to see if GlobalBanks IQ is the right choice for you to start accessing the benefits of international banking today.