Where can one open accounts for Maltese Companies and Structures?

There is no legal requirement for a Maltese company to open a bank account with a bank in Malta and a Maltese company may opt to open a bank account in another jurisdiction. However, having a Maltese bank account does assist a Maltese company in establishing more of a legal substance locally.  We have brokered excellent working relationships with the main banks in Malta and are able to advise and assist with the process of opening a bank account in Malta.

How do I open a bank account in Malta?

There is usually no need to visit Malta in order to open a bank account particularly where the applicant is a corporate or a business entity. Our banking department can make representations on your behalf throughout the entire process. We can advise you on all the due diligence documents needed for the bank together with the bank forms that are to be signed from your end.

In case of personal accounts, whether the applicant is a foreign individual and/or a resident of Malta, the bank would prefer to meet the applicant in person, usually prior to the actual completion of the bank forms. We will offer guidance and advice throughout the entire application process; make suitable introductions on your behalf as well as accompany you to the bank.

What is required to open an account?

Nowadays, requests to open a bank account are treated and dealt with on a case by case basis and the documents requested by the bank are much dependent on the risk exposure, as determined by the bank. Requirements can also vary from bank to bank and may be more onerous for entities working in particular sectors. Here below are some of the documents that banks invariably ask in case of corporate or business entities:

  • Certificate of Registration;
  • Memorandum & Articles of underlying shareholders (if shareholders are corporate entities);
  • Passport copies of all ultimate beneficial owners;
  • Bank References on all shareholders and Directors
  • Structure chart / Organogram showing the names of the Ultimate beneficial owners including the percentage of interest held by each

Additionally and during the initial assessment the bank would want to gather a thorough understanding of the activities of the company, its suppliers and customers primarily to understand the annual turnover of transactions going through the account, the recipients of payments, the source of incoming funds and the jurisdictions the company will have connections with. Once all this is ascertained to the satisfaction of the bank, the process to collect all due diligence documents and bank forms starts to have the account officially opened.

How long does it take to open a bank account?

Opening a bank account has today become somewhat of a lengthy process due to stringent anti-money laundering and ant-financing of terrorism obligations. There is no fixed period of time and to a good extent  the entire application process is dependent on whether one has provided prompt feedback to any of the queries raised by the bank during the initial assessment followed by the presentation of all due diligence documents in the format demanded by the banks. The process to have an account opened can take from several weeks to months. An early decision on the bank one wishes to bank with, once the Maltese Company is registered, would be highly recommended.

How long does it take to obtain an account number?

Once the entire application process is completed, an account number is usually provided within 5 days of the satisfactory receipt of all application forms and all the due diligence documents as requested by the bank.

What types of accounts are available?

Different banks offer different currencies which is also dependent on the sector a business entity works in. There are many different accounts available such as Savings Accounts, Term Deposit Accounts, Current Accounts, Cheque Reserve Accounts and Premier Deposit Accounts. What account you use depends on your cash management requirements and we will help you choose the account that best serves your needs. We can also arrange for Credit card or Debit cards to be issued.

How do I access my bank account? Is internet banking available?

Most banks in Malta offer internet banking. You can access your bank account through internet banking particularly if you are an internet user with full administration rights given on the bank account. You will therefore have instant visibility of your account information and can operate the account as you please.

Alternatively, where internet banking is not availed of or where we are appointed as internet users with full administrative rights given on your account, you can leave the administration of the bank account in our hands. We will administer the bank account on your behalf and can provide you with the information you need as well as effect payments on instructions received. In which case, we will always inform you of payments effected and provide a confirmation thereon. We can therefore provide you with latest statements and balance on account.

Furthermore, many bank accounts offer credit card and debit card services allowing you easy and direct access to your funds at all times. Non residents are usually asked to place double the amount of credit they require on the credit card as security.

Internet users can open new deposit accounts directly through the internet banking channel. Internet banking solutions are available for both Corporate and Individual clients.