Serbia is Fast Becoming a New Banking Haven

We previously wrote about the advantages of getting a residency permit in Serbia here. In this article, we’re going to look at who should bank in Serbia.

Serbia is fast becoming a banking haven for the 2020s. At least so far, it has not been bullied into joining the Common Reporting Standard (CRS). CRS is a system that obliges banks in most countries to share information about your accounts with the country where you’re a tax resident.

There is a broad selection of local and international banks. They are all keen to offer services to international clients. They all undertake the usual know your client (KYC) formalities when opening accounts. The requirements don’t stretch to more than a notarised copy of your ID and a proof of residence.

In addition to local Serbian banks, you can find banks from the EU, Turkey and Russia. If you’re a foreigner who wants to bank in Serbia you’re best to go with one of the local banks.

Serbia has long been an international trading nation. Located at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. It’s well-developed banking industry reflects its status as an open and international business hub.

No Minimum (or Maximum) Deposits When You Bank in Serbia

You will not find any minimum or maximum deposits to bank in Serbia. These are common in better-known banking havens like Singapore or Monte Carlo. You can open an account with any amount you please. Ideal for those putting a toe in the water of overseas banking.

Unlike many other countries today, Serbian banks are happy to open accounts for US citizens. But they are obliged to comply with FATCA. US residents might want to plan around that with other solutions if privacy is important to them.

For non-Serbian residents opening an account for a foreign legal entity may be a little tricky. It used to be easy but like other jurisdictions, they caved to international pressure. Getting legal residency in Serbia or setting up a branch of your offshore company is easy and inexpensive.

Crypto Related Business is Welcome to Bank in Serbia

Another wonderful thing about banking in Serbia is that they’re welcoming to crypto businesses and investors.
Crypto investors often find it hard to open accounts or receive transfers from crypto exchanges. In Serbia, there are few questions asked about crypto-related accounts. Indeed, Serbia is one of the first countries in the world to come up with a regulatory framework for crypto businesses. If you’re in that business banking in Serbia may be a great option for you.

Privacy Is Still Important

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While in the west we have accepted that there is no longer any privacy in dealing with banks, in Serbia privacy is expected. You can expect banks in Serbia to keep your affairs private.
I’d always recommend dealing with a bank with no footprint in your home country. If you live in the EU don’t deal with a bank that operates in the EU. If you’re a US citizen don’t deal with an American bank. That way no pressure can be put on them from your home country to reveal your confidential account details.

US Citizens and Residents Can Bank in Serbia

Unlike in some countries, US citizens are able to open bank accounts in Serbia without too much difficulty.
Banks in some jurisdictions are reluctant to deal with Americans. This is because of the extra compliance burden put on them with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).
US citizens and residents will have to sign a few extra forms. Other than that they shouldn’t have any issues opening accounts in Serbia.

Accounts for Overseas Companies are Still Possible

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It’s still possible to open bank accounts for foreign companies in Serbia. But it’s getting more difficult, particularly for non-residents.
There is a good workaround that my clients use. If you’d like to open a bank account in Serbia for your Hong Kong company form a branch of that company in Serbia.

It’s a simple procedure that your lawyer will do for you. Then your Hong Kong company will have the same right to open an account to bank in Serbia as a local Serbian company. You’ll have Serbian paperwork for your Hong Kong company so you can walk into a local bank and open an account.
This should not incur any extra taxes in Serbia for your overseas company. It’s only a branch so it’s easy to ensure that the profits are legally booked in zero or low tax countries.

Services Available When you Bank in Serbia

Banks in Serbia have an international outlook. Accounts can be opened in all major currencies. The services you’d expect to find in all major banks are available.
You can buy securities and commodities, trade forex and crypto, and open a safe deposit box if you want to. More specialised services for trade such as letters of credit are also readily available at Serbian banks.

Politically Exposed Persons

If you’re a politically exposed person (PEP) it can be more difficult to open an overseas account. Particularly in the European Union. You should have no trouble, however with banks in Serbia. Especially if you take the extra step of establishing a residency or a corporate structure there.

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

It makes sense to spread your assets around several banks and jurisdictions. Serbia is one of the best jurisdictions right now for confidential banking. If you have a large account size, I’d recommend opening accounts at 2 or 3 different banks.

Serbian banks should make up a portion of your overseas banking portfolio. As a reader of this report, you’ll be making sure that your political risk is diversified geographically too. You should keep no more than one-third of your total assets in any one jurisdiction.

One of the largest banks in Serbia is Komercijalna Banka. They have over 200 retail branches around the country. Buyers of our special report Bullet-Proof Asset Protection will receive a full list and contact details for all banks operating in Serbia today.

For help with opening bank accounts or getting residency in Serbia contact us here.