Opening a bank account in Puerto Rico
Opening a bank account in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s banking sector is quite unique in its nature and can offer several advantages for the right type of business and investor.  As part of the United States territory, Puerto Rico does not have its own central bank and is regulated by the US Central Bank.  The financial institutions in Puerto Rico are participants in the US check clearing system, CHIPS, ACH and Fedwire fund transfer systems.  They are fully exempt from FATCA compliance and are not part of any automatic exchange of information agreements, including the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), making them an excellent choice for enhanced privacy and confidentiality of account holders, especially when it comes to US residents.  Moreover, the local banks hold a very serious stance on client information secrecy and account holder protection, thus disclosure of any customer information would only be possible in the case of a criminal investigation.  In terms of stability and asset security, Puerto Ricco has a healthy economic growth and benefits from the back up of the US Federal Reserve.  Puerto Rico is also known for its attractive tax regime, corporate incentives and major free-trade zones which attracts a steady flow of foreign investment, especially when considering its highly advantageous geographical location.   Furthermore, when it comes to financial services, Puerto Rico has some of the most beneficial policies and procedures in the world, obtaining a banking or multi-purpose license or simply purchasing an already well-established financial institution is a much simpler and cheaper procedure than in many other jurisdictions worldwide.  Although this may be a significant advantage for some specific business models, it also poses a financial risk for local account holders and creates an air of untrustworthiness to the banking sector in general.

Keeping the later in mind, it is highly important to be very cautious when selecting a commercial bank, mortgage institution or investment firm in Puerto Rico.  Currently the leading five financial institutions are: FirstBank Puerto Rico, Banco Popular, Oriental Financial Group, Scotiabank of Puerto Rico and Banco Santander.   Opening a bank account in a financial institution in Puerto Rico is not a very simple process, like it is often advertised.  In fact, reputable local banks enact strict compliance and KYC checks and, in most cases, would require local physical presence.  However, unlike many other jurisdictions, today, Puerto Rican banks still allow for remote bank account opening for companies, without the need of a personal visit from the beneficial owner, provided that the applicant is introduced to the bank by a reputable local introducer, which can be provided by our firm.

At Arnos, our experienced banking department provides a full range of support services on an international level, including bank account opening and day-to-day administration, bank introduction and communication, compliance portfolio assistance and bank terms and contract review.  Our corporate team can also advise and offer efficient holding and business structure options for businesses of any complexity and risk level. 

For more information on our services, please feel free to contact our corporate department at any time.

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