GlobalBanks started out of necessity. We faced the shocking realization that bank regulators were killing businesses by making it impossible to open, and keep open, international bank accounts. Good people with legitimate businesses were being stonewalled. So we created a solution.
Now, we realize the importance of stopping criminal activity. But the level of bureaucratic regulation that bank regulators have imposed has gone too far. Business owners are being suffocated, growth impeded. They’re being forced to stay local and making it impossible to do business overseas.
And that’s a problem. We operate in a globalized economy, and not being able to bank overseas is the equivalent of not doing business overseas.
Many of our GlobalBanks Insiders have international businesses already. If they do, they tend to have suppliers or customers outside of their home country.
But there are just as many non-business owners that are GlobalBanks Insiders as well. Everyone has a legitimate reason to bank internationally – whether they work overseas, travel frequently, or simply want the freedom to bank internationally. That’s just the reality of the world we live in today.
Banking internationally can create problems for bank regulators and tax collectors in your home country. How can these branches of government play Big Brother if your money is in another country? Not to mention, in another bank outside of their control.
Well, the United States has done its best to maneuver around such challenges. Having implemented FATCA and forced correspondent banks to act as de facto bank regulators, the US has regained fiscal control over their citizens.
Other countries are following suit, forcing banks to impose regulation for them through compliance. In most cases, the added burden of regulation is too tedious and complicated. In fact, many people turn to shady service providers or lawyers that don’t actually offer any value.
All this has led to corrupt account opening processes, fake service providers, and a near-impossible web of account opening regulations to navigate.
But, there are solutions. And there are very good and very legitimate reasons why you should have an international bank account, regardless of whether you are an employee or a business owner.
Fortunately for all of us, these regulations and account opening preferences can be navigated without relying on shady service providers. As long as you know where to look and how to choose the right banks.
Now, before going into detail on how to open accounts on your own, let’s take a quick look at the driving regulatory forces.
Bank regulators are an arm of government and a long one at that. They’re tasked with overseeing banks and protecting depositor funds. And they do this by forcing standardized practices and transparency. But they don’t stop there.
Regulators play another important role in the government, they help other government agencies “catch their man” internationally. In other words, banking regulation and bank account information sharing allow governments to collect sensitive and private information about their citizens in other countries.
Sometimes, this can help stop large criminal organizations that are involved in harmful activities. But most of the time it just results in a massive breach of personal privacy.
Let’s talk about a few of the “reason” that we share so much information with bank regulators through international information-sharing agreements:
The “tax collector” uses bank regulators to impose cross-border information sharing. No surprise here, they do this to make sure that you’re paying your “fair share” of taxes – depending on your citizenship and residency.
Thanks to information sharing agreements, financial data is disclosed on individuals and companies between governments.
They do this because each every government wants the same thing: oversight of the financial accounts linked to their citizens (or residents) who live overseas. And once they have that, governments can force citizens (or residents) to pay taxes. It’s simple economics.
This is a term that is often generalized and misunderstood. Here’s how we define money laundering at GlobalBanks:
The process of hiding the origin of illegally sourced funds to make them appear legal.
With this in mind, it’s important to point out that bank regulators also play an important role in international law enforcement. They help identify criminal activity, by allowing law enforcement to follow the trail of cash.
In other words, criminals around the world need to get their money into a form that they can use. And to do that, they need to get it into the banking system. Money laundering is the process they use to do this. So to combat money laundering, bank account and transaction information need to be as transparent as possible.
The end result, of course, is that new clients at most banks now need to hand over mountains of paperwork and personal information. Not to mention, information on next-of-kin and business associates. Information that you wouldn’t otherwise share with anyone.
Terrorists are criminals, we can all agree on that. And some of the considerations mentioned above apply here as well. Bottom line, law enforcement wants to catch the bad guys. But, in the process, they also catch legitimate businesses and entrepreneurs in their net, making it impossible for them to open bank accounts.
But let’s talk counter-terrorism financing. Terrorism requires money in order to carry out its ill-deeds. To do this, financial sponsors around the world move money in order to fund terrorist groups. Counter-terrorism financing, or CTF, identifies the source of terrorism financing while also identifying the terrorists receiving the funding on the other end of the transaction.
The implications for the average person are like those for anti-money laundering. You have to hand over more personal information than you share with your best friend. But that’s the price you have to pay in order to get an account open.
If you’re a PEP or have ever been mistaken as one, you know exactly what this is about. For those that don’t know, a PEP is a politically exposed person. And bank regulators want to make sure that PEPs aren’t siphoning public funds.
This particular piece of due diligence is commonly known as the PEP test, and it might involve a few extra documents on your end. For instance, you might need to share the passport of a family member to prove that you are not related to a politician.
To make sure bank regulators cover the bases, they force banks to collect all the information they need on us. Some of this information automatically gets sent to tax authorities, other information gets filtered off to financial intelligence units and regulators.
In any case, all of this information collection is supposedly aimed at ensuring we’re not doing anything illegal. And it has the added “benefit” of ensuring that we’re all paying our taxes. Even though they have no reason to suspect otherwise – guilty until proven innocent?
The downside of all this additional regulation and paperwork is that banks have become scared to open accounts. There are a number of groups in particular that it has become almost impossible for, we refer to these clients as the Unlucky Passport Club.
But banks are even becoming too scared to open accounts for legitimate individuals and businesses as well, which is why choosing the right bank and knowing how to present yourself as a valuable client is incredibly important.
If you would like to read more about how bank regulators impose specific policies on banks, you can continue reading below.
At GlobalBanks, we pride ourselves on helping you go through this process faster and easier than anywhere else. Our goal is to make account opening easy. And that’s exactly what we do.
But opening an account doesn’t mean going it alone. It’s always easier to accomplish an objective when you can first learn from others. And that’s why the GlobalBanks Reports are such an important part of the GlobalBanks Insiders subscription. We include first-hand experiences from other members who have faced similar challenges when finding the best account for themselves or their businesses.
Our GlobalBanks Dashboard is immediately available to you after confirming your subscription. Start finding banks that meet your needs right away. And connect with other Insiders to hear which specific banks and branches have worked for them.
Becoming a GlobalBanks Insider is only a few clicks away.
In order to capture all of the necessary information, banks are forced to carry out a number of specific policies backed by specific procedures.
The combination of these banking policies and procedures ensures that the bank gets all the information they need to identify whether you are a good customer. Together, we refer to these policies as “the banking acronyms”.
The banking acronyms include:
Ultimately, your bank wants one thing: to protect itself from unnecessary risk. This means avoiding hefty penalties and investigations into their account opening. And they do this by carrying out these acronyms.
In doing so, they try to build a picture of every new client. This picture helps them assess whether you’re going to do anything that the bank won’t like, which ultimately means the local and international bank regulators won’t like. If they determine this before opening your account, they will reject your application. If they determine this after you open the account, then you can expect a bank account closure.
We’re going to dive into each of these below. If instead, you would like to skip ahead to our section on account opening, you can just click here.
By now, it should be no surprise that the information collection process that banks carry out is invasive. It involves collecting as much information as possible on every aspect of your life.
You should expect to hand over information on your business, your income, your nationality and residency, and your past tax filings. Not to mention any ties that you have to jurisdictions, companies, or people that might be unsavory.
But the bank’s customer due diligence is only the beginning. The following acronyms all inform the detailed profile that the bank will create for you.
Know Your Customer policies are compliance policies that bank regulators impose on banks around the world. These policies and their corresponding procedures ensure that the bank understands essential information about their clients.
The transition from customer due diligence to know your customer marks the transition from information collecting to the assessment of risk. Banks want to determine whether clients engage in illegal or high-risk activities – such as money laundering, terrorism financing, or other illicit activities.
When KYC procedures were first introduced, they were manageable, reasonable, and even straightforward. But now, they’re an important tool that banks use to consider you guilty until proven innocent.
One of the reasons for this is the interconnectedness of the global banking system. Banks rely on correspondent banks, which all have to force their own countries KYC & AML procedures. So keeping these policies and procedures standardized will help banks communicate the right information back and forth.
The purpose of counter-terrorist financing is simple, track down financiers of terrorist activity and track down terrorists. And thanks to international information-sharing agreements, banks are at the forefront of such information on behalf of government and law enforcement.
Unfortunately, organizations that finance terrorism know that they’re being watched. So they make transactions look as normal as possible, often sending small transactions that would look like any other business.
Why does this matter to you? If you have a business that is similar to one that might be used by a criminal organization or terrorist financier, you might be waving red flags without knowing it.
In any of the instances above, if your bank sees something suspicious bank regulators insist that they must report it. This is like getting a letter sent home from the teacher. But instead of knowing the letter was sent, you will have no idea. In fact, it’s illegal for the bank to tell you that the instance was ever reported.
In the United States, banks send SARs to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). They do this anytime they see a suspected incident of money laundering or fraud. And they don’t tell you. They just send it off to FinCEN for further investigation.
Generally speaking, SARs get filed within 30 days of a potential incident. And then the bank will keep a SAR and any supporting documentation on hand for five years. Talk about a lack of privacy for you and your financial records.
In the following section, we’ll look at specific client profiles and the account opening challenges that they face. We will also detail strategies to help get over those challenges.
Alternatively, if you’re ready to take action and find the best banks for you or your business, you can learn more about becoming a GlobalBanks Insider right now.
We pride ourselves on helping you go through this process faster and easier than anywhere else. Our goal is to make account opening easy. And that’s exactly what we do.
Our GlobalBanks Dashboard is immediately available to you after confirming your subscription. You can start finding banks that meet your needs right away.
We’ve now walked through some of the most prominent hurdles imposed by bank regulators. But those acronyms are just the beginning, they provide the framework for what banks actually look at.
But how can these poorly implemented regulations actually impede your account opening?
Well, we’re going to talk about that below for specific client profiles. And in each instance, we share which tools GlobalBanks Insiders should use to work out the issues to make sure they don’t become the unfortunate target of bank regulators’ attention.
If you’re in a high-risk industry, you already know the challenges of opening accounts. But we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be so difficult.
There are banks that specialize in dealing with high-risk businesses. These banks understand your industry and will offer you compelling services.
You just need to know how to find these banks. And you need to understand how to connect with them. Most importantly, you need to be able to present your business so they understand the associated risks. We talk about many of these client profiles in our article about bank account closures, which you can read here.
Such industries that often fall into the “high risk” category include the following:
Other industries prone to money laundering like used cars and service-based businesses are often considered high risk as well.
If you’re already a GlobalBanks Insider, check out the GlobalBanks Reports. There you can find out how other Insiders have gone about opening accounts for their high-risk businesses, especially in the specific client reports.
This is the “chicken or the egg scenario” – which comes first, the payment or the bank account to receive the payment.
This is something that every entrepreneur and digital nomad has faced. At some point in their careers, they have tried to open an account for a new business.
You have a great idea, you might even have a product, you could even have clients ready to pay you. But you don’t have a bank account, which means you can’t pay suppliers or receive money from customers.
Unfortunately, in the eyes of the bank, you are a high-risk client. That is unless you can help them understand you and your business. We’ve discussed the challenges without account opening before, as well as the opportunities and how to save money opening international accounts. But at the end of the day, ensuring your banker understands your business allows the bank to de-risk your profile, making you a potential client.
You can do this by preparing a wide range of documents to support your case. These include contracts and other supporting information about you and your business activities.
If you’re a GlobalBanks Insider, access the GlobalBanks Library for detailed account opening guides. Pick the guide that matches your client profile for specific strategies.
You may have guessed by the name, this is not a club that you want to be a part of. But unfortunately for most, you don’t have a choice.
Needless to say, knowing which banks will open for you plays a big part in the pursuit of a good bank account. Furthermore, knowing how to speak to banks and how to present yourself is as important.
Unfortunately, some banks will have strict rules on rejecting citizens of certain countries. This is often because of one of the many “watch lists” that they follow to stay in compliance.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t find great banks for personal and commercial banking. You just need to know where to look.
If you’re a GlobalBanks Insider, check out the GlobalBanks Database for banks that match your profile. And before searching, review the following article on the Unlucky Passport Club.
Regardless of your nationality or industry, banks need to understand your business. And they need to understand your transaction behavior, inbound and outbound.
With this in mind, it’s important for anyone looking for a bank account to educate their banker. This will include sharing specifics of their business and their own personal activities. Doing so will help the bank understand the type of transactions that you are going to complete. This will ultimately help them feel more comfortable with you as a client.
If you’re already a GlobalBanks Insider, check out the GlobalBanks Library for detailed guides on account opening. Chose the one related to your client profile for specific strategies. Or you can connect with GlobalBanks analysts directly to ask your questions.
It may (or may not) seem odd to see “politician” and “criminal” in the same sentence. But when it comes to account opening, sharing a name with either can have the same outcome. Your account opening application will get rejected.
Many Insiders have faced this challenge. Whether they share a name with someone on a blacklist or with someone who is a public figure.
In any case, if you share a name with a politician or criminal, you will face challenges in opening bank accounts. And the same is true if one of your immediate family members shares a name.
Additionally, even if you don’t share the exact name, similar spellings could get flagged. Watch lists often track similar spelling or spelling in other languages. This is so bank regulators are able to catch people that might be trying to obfuscate their identity.
As discussed, this has the unfortunate effect of “catching” innocent individuals and businesses. Even though they are simply trying to access good banking solutions.
Like all the scenarios discussed above, when it comes to this particular issue you need to face it head-on. You can do this by speaking with your banker and helping them understand your situation. Give them whatever documentation they need to present your identity to compliance. In other words, make their life easier, it will help you in the long run.
You can get access to the GlobalBanks Dashboard right now by confirming your subscription. Get immediate access and start finding banks that meet your needs.
Becoming a GlobalBanks Insider is only a few clicks away. Click here to get started now.
Or, keep reading as we discuss the account opening process and important factors that all prospective clients should consider when opening accounts.
Protecting the world from evil forces is important. But bank regulators have started to trap innocent people and companies in their nets as well. This makes it impossible to do banking internationally. Not to mention, making international account opening a monumental feat.
All things considered, it’s no wonder account opening has become such a nightmare. And it’s no surprise that many opt for accounts at Electronic Money Institutions (EMI) instead.
Other people have even gone so far as to use cryptocurrency for their international banking needs. Though both of those options come with their own challenges, risks, and headaches as well.
But, it is still possible to open and keep open great bank accounts for you or your business. But you are going to need to address the issues that we have referenced above head-on.
And so long as banks are being forced to carry out this mass information collection for regulations, you need to know how to talk their talk. After all, if you can’t explain to your banker why you are a valuable customer for the bank, why would they open an account for you?
The key isn’t to fight the system, it’s to understand the system. Then work within it to get great international bank accounts for you and your business.
By approaching the account opening process with this article in mind, you will be better equipped. And you will have a better chance of being successful in opening an account.
But keep in mind, every bank and banker is going to be different. And as much as GlobalBanks can help you understand the process, it is ultimately up to you to use the valuable information that you receive for being a GlobalBanks Insider to find and open the best accounts possible.
Your client profile and the way you present your account to the bank is paramount. You must anticipate their questions and concerns with your client and risk profile. Then address them in a clear and transparent way.
With this in mind, strive to make your bankers’ life as easy as possible. Identify, vulnerabilities in your client profile that might concern the bank before applying. It will be better for you and your banker in the long run if you know what these are and can discuss them with the banker openly.
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