Caribbean Banks: Antigua, Grenada, and Nevis

The offshore banking industry is well-developed in the Caribbean. Local banks offer high-quality financial services to individual and corporate clients. Many Caribbean banks do not have any minimal deposit or security balance requirements, even though some of them do. A considerable number of banks in the region provide opportunities for opening accounts with them without leaving the comfort of your home.

The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) has been in existence since 1981. It is similar to the European Union in many respects. The member states use a single currency, the East Caribbean dollar. It is pegged to the US dollar, and the rate is 1 to 0.37. Thus, the OECS countries form a single economic space. The single currency allows the OECS countries to keep inflation at a low level (around 2% per year), maintain uniform customs and trade policies, and, as a result, play an important role in the international market.

The OECS is a union of 7 full members and 4 more associated members. All the five Caribbean countries administering citizenship-by-investment programs (Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, St. Lucia, and Antigua and Barbuda) are members of the OECS. The OECS member states are also members of CARICOM, a larger union of all Caribbean countries.

Each of the OECS countries has several commercial banks holding licenses issued by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. In addition to monitoring their activities, the Central Bank gives annual awards to the regional banks whose performance has been exceptional over the years.

Below, we describe some banking opportunities available in the Caribbean. The list of banks that we offer is far from exhaustive.

Banking in Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, which leaves one assured of the reliability of the country’s financial sector. The economy of Antigua and Barbuda is steadily growing.

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank monitors the banking sector in the country. The Central bank sets the main vectors of development, controls the processes, regulates the monetary policy, and maintains the stability of the Eastern Caribbean dollar.

The first offshore bank was opened in Antigua and Barbuda in 1983. Since that time, the banking industry has been actively developing in the country, and today, it is one of the most profitable sectors of the local economy. Antiguan banks have a large network of correspondent banks in Europe, America, and elsewhere, which gives wonderful prospects to affluent business people.

Commercial banks in Antigua and Barbuda

Opening an account with a commercial bank in the country is a great opportunity for foreign investors who plan to launch a business venture in Antigua or purchase real estate there. The second option is especially attractive due to the fact that Antigua grants citizenship to foreigners buying property in the country. The investment can be returned after 5 years.

How to open a bank account in Antigua and Barbuda

The procedure of setting up a bank account is rather simple in the country. All you have to do is fill out the application form and supply a standard set of documents.

Every bank in Antigua has an official website where you can find the application form and the list of application documents. You will need only 1 day to set up a bank account in Antigua if you do it on a personal visit. If you open an account remotely, the process is going to take less than a week.

No account holder information is disclosed to third parties in accordance with the local legislation protecting banking privacy. The bank account can be opened in all the most popular currencies, including the US dollar, the Canadian dollar, the British pound, the euro, and so on. The account holder can obtain a bank card and a checkbook.

Key controlling mechanisms applied to Antiguan banks

The Antiguan authorities closely monitor the banking industry in the country. They apply the following controlling mechanisms and put forward the following requirements to the banks:

  1. Special inspectors examine all banking operations.
  2. Every bank keeps records of all transactions conducted.
  3. The ratio of capital to assets cannot be lower than 5%.
  4. The Board of Directors or the bank owner cannot be changed without the approval of the International Financial Services Administration.
  5. If a bank account holder is accused of money laundering, his/ her capital may be confiscated.
  6. The account can be blocked if there is a court order to do that.

Most popular banks in Antigua and Barbuda

  1. Bank of Antigua;
  2. Bank of Nova Scotia;
  3. First Caribbean International Bank Ltd;
  4. Antigua / Barbuda Investment Bank Ltd;
  5. Antigua and Barbuda Development Bank;
  6. RBTT Bank Ltd.
  7. Antigua Commercial Bank Ltd;
  8. Royal Bank of Canada;

Banking in Grenada

The banking system in Grenada is similar to the banking system in Antigua and Barbuda. There are several banks in Grenada, and three of them (Grenada Co-operative Bank, ACB Grenada Bank, and Republik Bank) are members of the Association of Caribbean Banks, which means that they are among the top Caribbean banks. In addition, you can find banks from Canada, the USA, and Barbados in Grenada.

All three abovementioned banks provide online banking services. ACB Grenada and Grenada Co-operative also have mobile applications. If you are planning to live in Grenada and you want to be able to withdraw cash from ATMs, we suggest that you consider Republic Bank because this bank has the largest number of outlets in Grenada. One more factor that you have to take into consideration is the commissions that the banks charge for international transactions. The commissions are the highest in ACB Grenada (more than EC$80), while the other two banks charge EC$20-50 depending on where the transaction is going.

The account maintenance costs depend upon the account type: debit cards are free, a credit card will cost you over 20 dollars per year, and the current account maintenance fee starts at 2.3 dollars per month.

Banking in Nevis

The banking-related legislation in Nevis provides the maximum possible confidentiality of the account holders’ information. This is one of the most attractive jurisdictions in the world as far as banking services are concerned.

Banks in Nevis offer a wide range of services to their individual and corporate clients. You can use them for local, regional, or international transactions. The banking services include the following ones:

  • Remote account management;
  • Prepaid, debit, and credit cards;
  • Fixed-term deposits;
  • Monetary operations via VISA and MasterCard systems;
  • Bank loans;
  • Merchant accounts;
  • Brokerage services and others.

If the security of banking operations is among your top priorities, you will probably be unable to find a better place than Nevis.

We have pointed out just a few banks in just a few Caribbean countries. Without a doubt, there are multiple other banking opportunities in the region, and the Caribbean offshore banking sector is strong indeed.